Category Archives: curriculum

Mid Year Evaluation of Our Homeschool Year

mid year

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I think this is a good time to take a look at what we’ve been doing with our school year. I’ve been checking in with the kids and finding out if they are still excited about what we’ve been learning. I’m looking back over the fall and trying to figure out what’s been going well and what we need to change up.

I blogged about our 2013-2014 curriculum choices HERE.  For the most part, we are sticking with the original choices. Well… at least I am with Big Brother. He has really enjoyed Easy Peasy. He loves the control of using the computer. He has especially enjoyed science and projects involving making power points.

This is our first year really using lapbooks. I, for one, am a really big fan. I like that all the work is contained in one folder. We don’t have tons of loose, random papers floating around.

While I have enjoyed doing language arts through Easy Peasy with Big Sis, we are going to be changing things up for the rest of the year. Our library has a pretty complete selection of the American Girl Historical Books. Big Sis (and probably Little Sis at times) will be using the American Girl Books to go through American History. I’m actually not very familiar with the books so it will be a learning experience for me as well.

I will be posting more as the year goes on about our adventures with American Girl. We will be starting with this one:

Meet Kaya (American Girls Collection)

The books are also available on Kindle. The first one in the series  Meet Kaya (American Girls Collection) is only $1.99!!

I have printed out some pieces for a Kaya lapbook and a horse lapbook to get us started for the week. I also picked up this craft kit on ebay to go along with the study:

I haven’t told Big Sis that this is what we will be doing. I think she is going to be super excited when she finds out!!!

We are continuing with Math U See for the Big Kids as well as incorporating legos into our daily school. Big Brother has expressed interest in learning about animation. I am going to look into checking out books about claymation, stop motion and other forms of animation. I also recently got the  Crayola Animation Studio for our computer. Big Brother is excited about exploring it.

Little Sis does school with us when she chooses. She does a lot of with learning letters, basic math skills and crafts. I have several resources from my teaching days (I taught preschool) that I pull out to use with her. We don’t stick to one curriculum or program.

How about you? Have you stuck to your original plan for the year or have you made some changes?

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Our Homeschool Curriculum 2013-2014

Homeschool Curr

Until about five days ago, I was all set to use My Father’s World, Creation to the Greeks this year. I had already bought the basic set and student sheets for Big Brother and Big Sister. I even went to Wal Mart last week and got the suggested school supplies to go along with the curriculum.

And then…

I realized, I didn’t really want to teach the material. I was NOT looking forward to the year. I love My Father’s World and would recommend it to anyone. I think it is solid and complete and very Biblical. I just wasn’t feeling it this year.

Last year, I finally felt like I was getting into the swing of things with school. I hit my sweet spot and really felt like things were clicking. I’ve been using My Father’s World because it is a complete curriculum.. laid out for me with day to day instructions. I needed that… it seemed to be that every year, we were either moving or having a baby. I needed to not have to do much planning in terms of school.

This year, we are fairly settled (although, I know things can change) and I’m not pregnant (again… I know things can change)… and I feel ready to be creative and see where the year leads. Sounds very unschoolish, doesn’t it?

I started by asking the kids, “What do you want to learn about this year?” Wow… were they excited. They were thrilled to pieces when I told them they could have input in what we learned about.

IMAG3790This is Big Sis’s list.. learn about animals and airplanes and furniture.

IMAG3791

And this is Big Brother’s… he wants to learn about “how stuff works”

SO…

That’s where we’ll start. We went to the library this morning and got books about machines, airplanes and pandas.

Now… I’ve also recently discovered Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool:

Easy Peasy

A complete, online, Biblical, FREE homeschool program. It’s pretty amazing. I’m planning to use that for our language arts… and maybe throw in some history and science as well. I am a little concerned with screen time, but others have reassured me that it is not an issue and the kids will have plenty to do off screen.

We will still be using Math U See for our math. Big Brother is now in Gamma and Big Sis is in Alpha.

We will also be utilizing legos A LOT in our learning. I would LOVE to somehow become affiliated with legos and be able to product test and do fun reviews and giveaways. That is all my children want to do these days! And they are SO creative. It really blows my mind. Check back monthly for our daily lego challenges. You can find the one for August here.

I am hoping to get this Simple Machines Set from Lego Education:

As far as Little Sis is concerned, I’ll be working with her on her letters. I’m going to be using Getting Ready on Easy Peasy. As well as resources I’ve used in the past like this one:

My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts

We will also be utilizing Busy Bags… more on that later!

And then there’s Baby Girl. She’s going to be a challenge. She is my passionate toddler who is in to everything. Last year, we were able to get school done while she took a morning nap. This year, well… we will just have to take it one day at a time with her!

So… it appears that our curriculum will be growing and building as the year progresses. Honestly… I am so excited. I feel so free and adventurous. I know this is going to be a great year. We are starting tomorrow and my kids are so excited as well.

How about you? What are you going to be doing this year?

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Our Homeschool Curriculum 2012- 2013

With each year we homeschool, I feel like I’m getting more of a grasp on how to handle things.

We are continuing with My Father’s World for both Big Brother and Big Sis. We will be using Math U See again as well. I chose not to use Apologia this year. We really enjoyed the Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day last year, but I think that we are going to have a pretty full year with My Father’s World and didn’t want to add any extras.

Ok… First up is Big Brother

My Father’s World- Exploring Countries and Cultures

We are starting the Multi- Age Family Cycle from My Father’s World this year. Big Sis and Little Sis will be able to join in some of our activities. This package includes our Bible,  history, read alouds, science and art. I am super excited about reading the missionary biographies. I am also super excited about getting our friends who have lived in other countries to write letters and share first hand accounts with the kids (oh.. by the way… I might be contacting you soon 😉 ).

We are going to be joining together with some other families in the area who are also doing Exploring Countries and Cultures this year to do a co-op, meeting once a week. I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to do this curriculum this year… with our finances being tight as usual, but a dear, dear friend who did this curriculum last year, sent me all of her stuff… all I had to buy were a couple of books and the student sheets. Praise the Lord!

For spelling, we will be using the third grade spelling bee list provided by our local homeschool association. I shared in THIS post how I will be trying to make spelling more fun.

Math U See worked well for us last year. Big Sis will be ready to start Alpha in a couple of months and Big Brother is starting Beta, but I have a feeling that he will be going through it pretty quickly.. so we have Gamma waiting in the wings.

Ok… for Big Sis, we are using:

My Father’s World First Grade Basic Package

We did this curriculum with Big Brother a couple of years ago, so all we had to order was the student sheets.

We are also going to be working on reading, using Bob Books… right now we’re almost done with set 1… then it’s onto set 2! I’ve used several different beginning readers, but I think these are my favorite.

For Little Sis, I have put together some Busy Bags, similar to THESE I found on Pinterest. She also has a school box with crayons, pencils and a journal… just like the big kids. I have LOTS of File Folder Games that I can pull out for her as well.

We will continue to use our journaling system that I explained in THIS POST. For Big Brother, I have and will continue to use these writing prompts that I found on… you guessed it… Pinterest!

Last year I had hoped to introduce music into our homeschooling, but with a baby coming mid- school year, it just didn’t happen. I am hoping to teach piano to Big Brother this year. If you know of any FREE online resources, please share!

In order to keep all this organized, I searched until I found a lesson plan template that I liked. I am using the Weekly and Monthly Planners as well as the attendance found HERE.

I have sections in my notebook for the whole family’s monthly calendar, Big Brother’s weekly lessons, Big Sis’s weekly lessons, our year long range plans and attendance record, and information pertaining to our co op.

Do you like the cover? Feel free to print one our for yourself. Click here –> HomeSchool Planner Cover
It will be upside down when you click on it, but I promise it will all turn out alright when you print!

Hmmm… what else? Oh yes, we’re going to be trying to workbox system this year for a change, but more on that later.

Well.. I think that’s about it. I am excited for this upcoming year and judging by the kids excitement this morning, it should be a really good year!

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School’s Out for Summer

We finished! I am amazed that we actually finished what we set out to do for the school year. I was all set to go through the summer, but now we don’t have to!

I was taking a look back at THIS POST from the beginning of the school year with our curriculum choices. The only thing we didn’t get to was the recorder/ music stuff. Maybe we can use our extra time this summer to focus on that!

We finished up some year long projects. I’ve gotta say, it feels good to accomplish a goal and not have things left hanging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Adventures in my Father’s World, we’ve been learning American History all year. We kept a notebook in which to place all of Big Brother’s writings, pictures and state facts. He really enjoys looking back through the notebook and remembering all the interesting things we learned this year. All the work pages are included in the package from My Father’s World.

Also from Adventures in My Father’s World, we’ve been learning some of the names/ attributes given to Jesus. Every couple of weeks, Big Brother did a “verse poster” to add to his collection. He chose to put this up in his room. I think it’s great that he sees it every day! These posters were also included in the curriculum.

In our ocean science, Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day, we did a year long study of ocean animals. We kept up with all the fact sheets, crossword puzzles, and mini books in a notebook. Again, Big Brother REALLY likes looking back at all the fun stuff he did during the year.

Big Brother’s FAVORITE project was definitely the ocean box he did as part of the Apologia study. Each time we learned about a new class of animals, he got to add an example to the box. We got a little behind towards the end of the year… so on the last day of school, I gave his lots and lots of supplies and let him finish the remaining creatures. He is so proud of this box. It is on display in the middle of our living room.

We also completed Math U See Alpha and are ready for Beta. I’ve thought about getting that and starting during the summer… just to keep things fresh. However, math is Big Brother’s least favorite thing to do and he might not appreciate it too much!

We’ll be trying to keep cool this summer and do lots of hiking and playing with friends for the next eight weeks before we gear up for our next school year. In the fall, Big Sis will be doing more structured school and Little Sis will be able to do a little more with us too! I have my hopes for next year’s curriculum and supplies and am praying for God’s provision… because right now, I don’t know how we’ll be able to afford it. But I do know that God has provided in the past and I have no reason to doubt that he will continue to do so!

How is your school year looking? Are you finished for the school year or do you do school year round?

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Our 2011- 2012 Homeschool Curriculum

 Okay… so I know that most homeschool bloggers have already written a similar post about their curriculum. I am a little behind on things… but hey… my husband just graduated from seminary, we just moved to a new state and I’m pregnant… I think I’m doing just fine!

This year I’ll be homeschooling Big Brother (6 years old) and Little Sis (4 1/2).

I’ll start with Big Brother:

 – Adventures in My Father’s World. With a Little help from Grandma, we were able to get the basic package for Adventures. Now.. I do hold a (expired) teaching certificate. I am beyond qualified and capable of writing my own unit studies and lesson plans. However, with all the craziness that defines our lives right now, I think a laid out, step by step curriculum is just what we need. Adventures in My Father’s World is look into American History from a Biblical point of view.

 – Science- Apologia: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. Although Adventures in My Father’s World does come with some science materials, Big Brother has been completely obsessed with Ocean Animals lately. I showed him the books from Apologia about Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. He was so excited. In fact, he was so bummed to have the stomach bug yesterday because he had wanted to get started with his “special ocean animal science.” This is my first experience with Apologia. I am excited to see how it will go.

– Spelling- we will be using Super Teacher Worksheets- First Grade Printable Spelling Sheets

– Math- We will be using Math U See– Alpha

And now onto Little Sis:

 Reading- We will be using simple reader books like the ones pictured above. I also picked up a handful of leveled reading books from the Target Dollar section for when she’s ready.

 Bible and Alphabet- I love this book. You can find it here on Amazon. There is a verse for every letter of the alphabet. Not only will Little Sis be memorizing scripture, she will also be working on her letters and character education. Each letter/ verse has a little story that goes with it.

Math- We will also be using Math U See– Primer

And for them both:

 I am not sure what possessed me, but at the Southeast Homeschool Expo, we picked up a couple of recorders and a book. I will be attempting to teach the kiddos basic music reading and how to play a recorder this year. Pray for me. Big brother might also begin piano lessons.

These are our “journal boxes” where the kids keep their supplies.. pencils, crayons, scissors, etc. as well as a journal. This journal is really for their personal use. If we have a science day and they want to write about the experiment… or if we go on a field trip and they want to draw/ write about it… or if they just want to write about their day… the journals are here for them. You can read more about how we do journal time here.

We are excited to take advantage of our local library as well as all the fun field trips the mountains of Western North Carolina have to offer. We have been planning a trip to the Educational Forest near by as well as looking into a nature center in the next town over. It should be a fun and interesting year.

I know I’m a little late with this and that others have already shared their curriculum with the Hip Homeschool Hop… but hey… better late than never!

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