Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Tis the Season to be Crafty!

With the onset of the holiday season, we have been doing a lot of Christmas reading, crafting and listening. I love arts and crafts and anything that remotely falls into this category, but have been a little at a loss for ideas as to what I can do with the boys and what is appropriate for their ages. Thankfully, earlier this Fall, I joined a the Sue Patrick workbox group, never realizing the wealth of ideas and links I'd find there at this time of year. Thought I'd share a couple of the links to projects that we have done or will be doing in the coming days.... Enjoy!
  • Art Projects for Kids - we're planning on doing the Nutcracker project and the Gingerbread Project
  • Cinnamon Dough Ornaments - made these the other day! Have wanted to tackle this project for years, and finally did it. The boys loved it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How do you spell GRACE?

Wow, is it November already? Great!

We spent the month of October taking turns fighting off a cold, which has made school a bit challenging. We've had sick days, whiny days and days of exhaustion... and that was just ME. LOL. It sure is hard to enjoy reading aloud to the boys when every sentence makes you cough! Fortunately, we have been sneaking other school work in, using the previously mentioned tactics so we are not as behind as we feel we are.

My big concern was that the area that was hardest to keep up with was our reading work... Since Ian is new to reading, and the curriculum is more advanced, it has required me "tweaking" some of the activities, adding in some extra work for reinforcement. How difficult would it be to pick up where we left off? What would Ian remember? Turns out, quite a lot! And it seems that he actually has improved. How is that possible? :) Maybe we are sneaking in more than we realize.... Or maybe he is connecting the dots on his own without my realizing it. And maybe it is just another way that God is pouring out his grace on our lives! I'm hoping it's all of the above, because as of this weekend, we are fighting colds again. :/

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unschooling or How I Sneak School into Sick Days.

So here in our little Homeschool Academy, we've been ill for the last 3 days. First it was the boys, and now I've also succumbed to the ick. So I've been (with some level of anxiety) taking a break from our "official curriculum". I figure, you know, there is such a thing as a sick day. Let's show the Kindergartener a little compassion, right? And if I have a migraine and am nauseous, we're also not having school, and that too is showing compassion to the Kindergartener. LOL...

Anyway, we have been sneaking some unofficial school stuff in.
  • We did a bit of reading in The Boxcar Children, and a little handwriting on Monday.
  • I also had been away for the weekend and Dad had read out of The Boxcar Kids, so I asked Ian to tell me about the story that I missed. He did a really good job of recounting it!
  • Also we went to the library yesterday and he spent some time on the computer there, doing some puzzles.
  • I found a neat little phonics book at the library, that we looked at today.
  • We took out the Leapfrog Talking Words Factory from the library and spent time watching that today. Ian was thrilled that he could read all the words that rhyme with "at", and I think he learned a few more.
  • In the bath, I broke out the bathtub crayons and we practiced writing our last name, and did some artwork.
  • Ian colored a postcard for his cousin's birthday, and wrote a message on the back.
  • We started taking part in Sonlight's OneVerse project, which teaches kids about other cultures and the difference having a Bible makes in the lives of people.

And so, even though I feel like I'm now behind with the homeschool timeline, I can at least feel that Ian is still learning. And thus, I have salved my conscious for the day. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sonlight, Reading and Writing

It's been a little over a month since my last post, which can only mean that I've been scrambling trying to research, brainstorm, organize, de-clutter and invent... AND loving every minute of it. LOL.

We love the Sonlight curriculum. Truly love it! But I will say that we bit off more than we could chew when we chose the "Readers 1" for my Kindergartener. To be fair, I thought this might be a possibility, so it was not really a surprise. My back up plan was to continue using "My Father's World Kindergarten" to teach reading until we came up to speed. I figured at that point we would begin with Sonlight's reading program and just be able to stretch it out to next year. No biggie.

But here's the deal: we liked Sonlight so much that I found myself looking back over the Reading program, trying to figure out how to incorporate SOME of it into our schedule. When it really came down to it, I felt like he could follow the readers, but not the activities. For instance, our handwriting program (
Handwriting Without Tears)cautions against having the student writing letters he hasn't learned yet. Makes sense to me!! But the Readers 1's Activity Sheets immediately direct you into "copywork", requiring the copying of sentences right off the bat. My DS would've erupted into tears at the thought, I can assure you. There's a reason that we chose Handwriting Without Tears, believe me.

So the solution, if you care was this: I did the copywork for him, and used the copywork to ask him questions. This way, he simply had to underline the capital letters at the beginning of the sentences and circle the capital letters that began proper names. Still teaching him about capitals, but without requiring the writing.

Another thing we've been doing is slowing down the course of the lessons, stretching them out over 3 weeks, and teaching the words in different ways, using the reading to reinforce the learning of words. I've created flashcards that we review every day. We also use Leapfrog's Word Whammer to make the words on the flashcards. I also expounded up an idea from Handwriting Without Tears by writing the words on our blackboard while Ian watches and allowing him to trace the letters with a small wet sponge!! Love this idea, and so does he.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Box Day!

When our Sonlight box arrived, with all our books and teacher's materials, we were all pretty excited, but it was a busy week so it was several days before we could actually open the box. I had wanted to go thru it all on my own, in peace and quiet, but really what fun is that? I decided on Friday that I would include my son in the opening ceremonies, and I'm so glad I did! It was like Christmas! Ian pulled out book after book and kept saying, "I LOVE this book! I always wanted this!" LOL... Well, I don't know about that, but I will say that I was so full of joy that I almost burst out in tears as I thought how very lucky I am, that I GET to be the one reading these books to my son, and teaching him with all these great teaching materials!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

In the beginning

I want to say that this is where it all starts. It's not, but that would be a cool way to begin, wouldn't it? :)

I will say that we began our "homeschooling experiment" last year, more out of curiosity and necessity than conviction. Last year, our oldest son, Ian, wasn't old enough for kindergarten, but I knew that he was ready to for more formal instruction at home. Since I have been interested in homeschooling for some time, I thought, "Now is the perfect time to give it a try!" After talking with friends who homeschooled their kids, conducting research and perusing a ridiculous amount of curriculum, I settled on My Father's World Kindergarten.

Last year was definitely a learning experience for all of us. We learned a lot about learning styles, personalities, our weaknesses and our strengths. This year, we decided to go with a more advanced Kindergarten curriculum. So, we have chosen Sonlight K with "Readers 1", Bible readings, Horizons Math K, and Handwriting Without Tears . Yesterday the "stuff" was ordered, and today it was shipped. In a few business days it will be in my hot little hands. :) Can't wait.