Monday, June 10, 2013

Kindergarten Take 3

Today was the official start of J-Monster's Kindergarten year.  I can't believe I'm doing this for the 3rd time around.  The big boys were off to Pokemon camp so we had all morning to ourselves and got in an entire day's worth of school.

J-Monster loves crafting, so we started off with art.  Evidently, drawing a cute clown face in his Baby Lamb's Art book did not qualify as craft-time.  He did have a good time, but I'll be on Pinterest tonight to come up with something he will deem as a craft.  He has requested a "dog craft."  He is my first boy that likes hands-on craftsy stuff so this Kindy year will look a little different than the other two.

Then, we had our first spelling and writing lesson.  J-Monster has been interested in learning to read and can sound out CVC words, but we went full-on with Spell to Write and Read today.  We started learning the official recitation for the first 26 phonograms and learned how to write a, c, and d in cursive.  It was easy as pie for him and he loved using the salt box to write his letters.  He is my best 4 year old writer to date so I'm getting off kind of easy this time around.  I don't mind that at all.  We also have the advantage of a good cursive app on my iPad which adds to the fun. Baby-S even got in on that action.

Of course, no boy can resist some salt box drawing.  Here are his renditions of our two dogs: Wilson and Ribsy.

Finally, we got out math.  He is cruising through Singapore Essential Math A.  I knew it would be very simple for him as he is already adding, subtracting, counting to 100, and writing numbers well.  He doesn't care that it's easy.  He is a workbook kid and loves to finish pages.  He did about 10 pages today and continued his work during brothers' swim lessons.  We aren't in any hurry to rush him along in math.  There will be plenty of time this year to get through everything I have planned (which is a lot, as usual).

We were able to read a couple of school stories from Sonlight's P4/5 at the pool and more at bedtime.  All-in-all it was a great day.  I loved being alone with him and giving him all of my attention.  Maybe not all, Baby-S was hanging out and I did fold a load of laundry while he was doing math, but a lot more than usual.  J-Monster asked if we get to do Kindergarten everyday.  That's one of the reasons I love K-ers so much.  They just love school.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Wait...We Haven't Gone Anywhere

Okay, I've been absent for awhile.  I'm still homeschooling and loving it, but adding a 2nd student and 4th child really threw me for a loop free-time wise. I really had to spend some time getting some home and school routines down.

So what's new?  A few things.

1.  I'm adding a new student next week.  That's right, J-Monster starts Kindergarten on Monday.  This is a serious, "where did the time go?" moment for me.  Granted, he is a young K-er.  His birthday is in August.  If he were going to public school, I'd consider holding him back a year.  It wouldn't be because he isn't ready, but because that is the norm here for summer and even some spring babies.  In preschool, he was over a year younger than some of his classmates (and tiny in comparison).  Now, his preschool teacher (the wonderful Ms. Mendi) encouraged me to send him even if we were going into public school since he's more than ready.'s a good thing that isn't an issue.  Onto Kindergarten he goes...

2.  I'm now on the Flylady wagon.  I was really struggling this year with how to do school with 2+ students (J-Monster was doing preschool at home part-time) and a toddler while keeping up with the house.  I've been really challenged to keep my home inviting and peaceful.  I was having trouble accommodating both.  If it was in inviting shape, we weren't doing that peacefully.  If we were peaceful and fun, the house was a disaster.  Thanks to Flylady's principles, I am able to keep the house "company and family-time ready" (note...not perfect!) without the stress and time requirements I had before.  Talk about a breath of fresh air.  It has also de-stressified our school time as we have more time in our day to get everything done.  The boys love the routines.

3. Baby-S isn't such a baby anymore since he just turned 2 and is a "big boy."  He has to do everything his big brothers do.  In fact, he'll be getting a new nickname.  He'd be offended at his.  He will also be attending our church's preschool in the fall.  I've never sent a 2yo to preschool before, so I have mixed emotions about it.  However, it is only 2 days a week and I love his teacher (Ms. Nancy).  With J-Monster being a Kindergartener and still having the other two, I need some dedicated schooltime during the week.  It'll be great for Baby-S to be out having some great 2yo time instead of "being in the way" at home.  It's a win-win for all of us.  Not to mention, I absolutely love our preschool and it's across the street.

4. I am Crossfitting and running in abundance (for me) and incorporating eating Paleo.  I've really buckled down this year and have been more consistent since last August.  I've always been active, but adding Crossfit and joining a running club have taken things to a new level for me.  Nope, you won't see me at the next Crossfit games or on the first page of a marathon leader board, but I've improved my health by leaps and bounds, am really enjoying all of it, and don't plan on quitting.  I'm telling you all of this because it will seep into this blog.  Part of this process for me is teaching my boys to be active and healthy for their whole lives.  We don't have gym class, but incorporate activity into our everyday lives.  I've found that as we get older, talent for sports is less important than habit, comfort, and motivation.  Those are the things we are striving to instill in them.  Plus, I want to show that a homeschooling mom of 4 who is busy with lots of other commitments can still take care of herself.  Warning:  it often requires getting up early.  I'm not a morning person and I require a lot of sleep to function (those who know me, are giggling), so if I can do it...anyone can.
Okay, that's all for now.  I'll be updating pictures, nicknames, and curriculum very soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Olympics

We are going to be in full Olympics mode come Friday. We started on Thursday with a little geography lesson. I've had this world map puzzle for about a year now, but we hadn't started it. It will be perfect for the Olympics. We are going to work on it a little bit each day and talk about the countries represented. Mr. C already found Mali which excited him because they discussed Mali during VBS. He told me all about mosquitos, malaria, and mosquito nets. It was fun to see him making that connection.
While doing the edges, we briefly talked about longitude, latitude, coordinated, and the equator.
Other than the puzzle, I haven't really planned any formal Olympics activities. However, I'm going to leave plenty of room in our schedule to follow bunny trails and do some research on countries and sports.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Can't Use It All!

This is a great time to be a homeschooler; we have so many curricula options.  While I'm thankful for this, I sometimes go into curricula overload.  It's kind of like a sugar-high.  I just can't stop researching and questioning.

Last month, a new math program debuted called Beast Academy.  It is published by one of my favorite math companies, Art of Problem Solving.  I've been eyeing their PreAlgebra and Algebra courses just waiting for D-Man to be ready for them.  Beast Academy is their elementary program.  After looking at the scope and sequence and studying the samples, I decided that D-Man is beyond the material.  Would he like it?  Would he learn something from it?  I think so.  However, I just can't justify the expense for another review program.  Now, if they'd published level 4 instead of level 3 first, I'd be on board.  I may revisit it when Sweet-C gets around to that level, but not now.

This month, I've been researching writing.  We are currently using Writing With Ease (WWE) by Susan Wise Bauer.

 I really like the program.  D-Man did level 1 and is now working on level 2.  I've just started seeing the fruit of the method.  In fact, I'm impressed by the progress D-Man is making.  Recently, Mrs. Bauer has published Writing with Skill 1 (WWS) as a follow-on to WWE 1-4 and already has publishing dates for subsequent levels.  I knew it was coming but it throws a loop in my plans.  I had been planning to use another program called Writing Tales (WT).  I like the look of WT.  I want to use WT.

I should interject here that I have a fear of teaching writing. I realize that it is an important skill to succeed in college and life; I don't want to let my boys down.  Therefore, I want (need?) a program to hold my hand and walk me through the whole process.  At this point, I'm trusting in Mrs. Bauer's method.  Do I think it will work?  I think so.  I trust her.  My only hangup is that I'd planned on following the Writing Tales method which is slightly different.  Unfortunately, the author of Writing Tales hasn't been able to finish the rest of the program.  She only has 2 levels out and I would need all 4 that were planned.  I've been secretly hoping that she would come out with the other levels before we need them (there's still time!!) but that doesn't look likely.

So where does that leave me?  I need to listen to the sage advice, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  That leaves me abandoning my original plan and sticking with WWE.  I should be fine with that.  I am fine with that but I'm still sad that I won't be using WT.  I'm working through that but in the meantime, I'm still searching.  Searching for what you ask?  I'm searching for the perfect writing curriculum.  For some reason, I think I'm missing something and the perfect answer will jump out at me.  That's what we curriculum junkies do.One thing I've learned over the past 3 years is that there are a lot of good programs out there, a few great programs, and no perfect programs.  A perfect program isn't possible or even necessary.  SO...I am going to stop looking!

Now to contemplate supplementing with Winning with Writing next year...

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Guess My Problems Could Be Worse...

D-Man is a crazy reader. He reads anything and everything I leave laying around the house. This is what I've been aiming for since I started homeschooling so it makes me very happy.

I have found two drawbacks to this. First, I can't preread enough books. Since D-Man's only 8, I can't just hand him any book or let him blindly pick books off of the library shelf. I am fairly picky with what I allow him to read. We have some good book lists that I trust and knowledgeable friends ready with ideas (thank you, Donna Hendrick!). There are still times when I'd like to look up book about _______ and hand it to him. Thankfully, I should be much more prepared when Sweet-C gets to this stage.

Second, he keeps reading our schoolbooks. Since we use Sonlight, I am always in the middle of reading several books out loud. We tend to follow the schedule but often get ahead in literature because I can't resist that call for "just one more chapter.". Nowadays, the boys aren't satisfied with just one more chapter. The cry is usually for 2 or 3 more. As much as l like reading aloud to them, I do have other things to get done during the day. When I put my foot down, D-Man asks if he can read it himself. Sometimes he reads silently in bed. Othertimes, he reads aloud to Sweet-C. The result of this is that I know how all of our books start but not how they end (I want to know) and that we're running out of schoolbooks. I just received some extra Sonlight books for Core C and biology on Saturday. He finished one of the Core C books last night and I found 4 of the science books in his bed last night.

I know this isn't really a problem. Despite my perfect curriculum plans being altered each day, I'd rather search for more books than tell him no. It is so much fun seeing him connect with authors I loved at his age and be frustrated because "there's nothing to read." It is a good thing that we live across the street from a library, huh?

I'm off to check out Veritas Press, My Father's World, WinterPromise, and 1000 Good Books for anything I'd like to add to our queue.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad