Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wow! What a crazy few days .... sorry for my absence! Last Thursday we had Thursday Connection co-op, of course. And this was the first time that I did not stay there all day. I have a Bible study now on Thursdays, which is awesome! Luckily Lillie knows exactly where to go and what to do, plus she has Riley Grace and Garrison in her classes, so they can help her in the event she has a problem. I'm still volunteering during her first hour class, which is Hands-on Science. She brought in an experiment this week, which we did together. We should the reactivity between vinegar and baking soda. We added yellow dye to one bowl and blue dye to another, so when it bubbled over the two colors mixed and created?????? GREEN of course! The kids knew that this was a miscible mixture! Which is what they've been learning about! Fun!

Friday was a crazy day. We were late getting started, then just as we got started, I got yet another call from Michael's school .... on of his braces had popped and was sticking him in the gum! So we made an emergency run to the orthodontist! Afterward, since we were right by the grocery, we stopped there. Then of course we had to eat lunch when we got home, and most of the day was gone! So, we worked on phonics and math and called it a day :)

Yesterday (Monday) wasn't much better, but that was because I was very sick. I have an ulcer and was in a great deal of pain. Ugh. So .... we played educational games and had a great time! We made silly sentences with a fun phonics game, used our Learning Pallette from Usborne (LOVE this thing!). We were going to work on art, but she got invited to a friend's house, so phonics and math again!

Today we're just getting started, so you'll have to check in later to get the scoop!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is There Ever a "Typical" Homeschooling Day?

Started today with Hideaways in History. We read through our "spine" which is an exclusive written by Winter Promise. We learned about Adam and Eve and the earliest civilizations. Then we read from the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. Gosh I love that book! The pictures are so beautiful! Lillie was thrilled to see a photo of the Sphinx in Giza in the Encyclopedia .... brought up lots of discussion about her study of Ancient Egypt last year We talked about the first farmers and Jericho, one of the oldest towns to be found. We also talked about Catal Huyuk (chatal hoo-yook), which was the largest of the early towns. While discussing that, we read that many people there had a shrine room where they prayed to their gods. "Gods??? There's only ONE GOD!", she quickly informed me! Sweet!

We then worked on Saxon Math which is not nearly as entertaining as Life of Fred. Today we had to cover shapes using pattern blocks. It's not as easy as it sounds! We also ran some errands, and while doing so began listening to Tchaikovsky Discovers America. I LOVE these stories! They're so well done.....they always entertain, but are so educational and in the background they play music from that composer. She is loving it!

When we got home we were ready to start on Bible and Phonics, but the phone rang and it was Michael's school letting us know that he had hurt his thumb playing volleyball. I called the dr's office and they were able to get him in at 2:45, so off we ran to pick him up and get to the dr's office. Of course, that took forever and a day. Finally, after returning home, we had our first Bible lesson using Grapevine Bible Studies, and we're going to LOVE this class! Today we started with Gen 1:1-16 and discussed the first 3 days of creation.

Afterward we worked on phonics blends, which is going well. I think we're ready to move on to the next step on the raceway!

Now, in preparation for Thursday Connection, we're getting ready to review Spanish and work on a science project involving mixtures of some sort. (guess I'd better figure that one out quickly since it's almost 8 pm!

Oh, by the way, Michael's thumb was only sprained!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What a great day! L was so cooperative today! I found this awesome class management system on Fairy Dust Teaching
So today we made our "Kangaroo pouch" and I presented her with her very own stuffed kangaroo named "Pancakes". The joey is appropriately named "Joey the Joe". They will remain on her desk most of the time. But, basically, she has to abide by the "star rules" which are attentiveness, diligence, obedience, patience, and thankfulness. When she is not exhibiting one of these behaviors, Pancakes and Joey the Joe will come to my desk, until she can gain self-control, then they will return to hers. So far? Working like a charm!

Then we did her most favorite subject: math! Life of Fred of course! Afterward we practiced phonics blends, which is not her favorite thing, but she seems to be happier doing phonics now that we're using SSR&W.

oh, and there's the teacher, wait, how did she get in here? and someone needs to empty that trash can!

And.....what we've ALL been waiting for: ART! We discussed what an artist is, what composition is and then she was asked to compose a drawing of her own. At first she wanted to draw me, but on second thought, she chose the TV cabinet. Wise choice.
Next was reading two chapters out of the human body book. One about cells, tissues and organs and the other about bones and muscles. Can I just say? The girl blew me away! Knew that the smartest component of our body is the cell....put together they become tissues.... and put together THEY become ORGANS. This was with no prompting from me! When I told her "L I think you're going to be a doctor!", she said "NO! I WANT TO BE A CHEF!" .... ok, sweetie. So, a chef it is!

But all chefs should know Spanish ... and the way things are going, we may all need to know Chinese too (right, Dad?). But for now, Spanish it is! We studied Los Lugares (places). This was homework from her co-op class.

History will be this evening because her friend called begging for her to come over. And you know what they say about all work and no play!

All in all ..... a 9 out of 10 kind of day! Hope yours was equally awesome!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Homeschool 2011-2012 1st Grade (long post!)

Warning: If you're not interested in our homeschool, you'll probably not be interested in this post :)

It's been so long since I posted anything on here! What good is a blog if you never blog? None, I guess.

Well, I've decided to be much more intentional about my daily use of time and to help keep me accountable, I'm going to use this space as a living scrapbook, so-to-speak, of our homeschooling days (and other happenings). My plan is to post daily with what we've accomplished during homeschool and a few pictures just for fun.

Surely, knowing that my husband and parents will be "looking over my shoulder" each evening will make my intentionality even more purposeful!

So to start, I'll share the curriculum that we're using this year ....

Bible: Grapevine Bible Studies. So excited about this Bible curriculum! We're starting with creation and are just going to work our way through the Bible. This curriculum uses drawing stick figures about the story as a memorization tool. It sounds simplistic, but it's very neat and I think L is going to love it! We're also going to be doing character training, with a different character trait each week. And, at some point, we'll be reading The Princess and the Kiss, which is about the sacredness of the first kiss a girl receives: the one from her daddy. It's a sweet little picture book with a sweet little study guide to go with it.

Language Arts: Sing, Spell, Read & Write. I've tried other programs, and frankly none are as good. I've had this box of gold sitting here for 8 years. I bought it when Michael was 5 and he turned 13 today, so if my addition/subtraction is correct .... yep, 8 years :) Anyway, Michael has always been an amazing reader and to this day reads 3 to 4 years above grade level. I attribute it to amazing genes, of course, but I think SSR&W may have played a small part in his success ;) We'll see how L does with it.

Math: Saxon (2nd grade) and Life of Fred. Strange combination, I know. Life of Fred finally came out with an elementary series and L is in LOVE with it. For those of you who do not know about that of which I speak .... I'll tell you this: it is simply the most entertaining math program around and it's incredibly thorough. It tells a story about a 5 year old named Fred who is a math genius and goes to teach at a university. And somehow seamlessly, math gets incorporated into the story, and L remembers it! ALL of it! Granted, she's a math whiz by nature, but this Fred thing is really working. So why Saxon? Well, because it's Saxon of course! And isn't that what diligent homeschoolers use? We've also started flash cards for addition facts, but she memorizes them so fast we hardly need them!

History: Winter Promise, Hideaways in History. So excited about this too! We'll be studying history from creation thru modern times all in 36 weeks. Each week we'll be constructing a "hideaway" out of cardboard boxes that corresponds with what we're studying (caves, pyramids, submarines, you name it we'll be making it!)

Spanish: Thursday Connection . So far L is loving her Spanish class at co-op! Which is surprising since it's primarily conversational. But her teacher is sooo sweet and patient, L just can't help but love her and learn from her. So far she's learned los colores (colors), el tiempo (the weather), and los lugares (places).

Science: Thursday Connection. When I signed L up for co-op, I didn't think about the fact that 3 of her 4 classes would be science related .... I was just trying to get her in the door with a cohesive schedule. So.....she's taking 1) Hands-on Science, a general science class learning about everything from mixtures to weather to electricity. 2) Critters, Critters, a class all about, well, critters of course. And already L was the star of the show as she got to bring in our sweet little dog, Booboo, for "show and tell". They'll also be having a K9 dog come in, animals from the zoo, and who knows what else! 3) Hands-on Human Body, a class about, yep, you guessed it! The Human Body. I know, she seems young for an A&P class, but really she's loving it! They constructed a human cell out of candy ... how bad could it be? When she got in the car Thursday she wanted to hurry home and get her human body book out so she could look at the difference between white and red blood cells. How many 6 year olds do that?

Art: Artistic Pursuits. I've heard this is the best art program around. We haven't started yet, but we'll see. We'll be doing that along with studying some Impressionist's paintings. And general arts and crafts for various seasons, holidays, celebrations, etc.

Music: Haven't nailed it down yet. We're going to listen to some of the Kid's Classics CD's which are stories about famous composers, interspersed with their music. We'll start with Beethoven Lives Upstairs and then probably Tchaikovsky Discovers America. We'll also be listening to Wee Sing USA which is all patriotic songs.

Did I leave anything out? Oh yes, P.E. She'll hopefully be restarting gymnastics in the fall. This is the thing she really wants to do most.

Yep, a full schedule it is! See why I need to be intentional?

Thanking God today for the privilege of homeschooling!

Monday, February 21, 2011

In my life this week...
A respite retreat for parents who have had a child die. Thanks to www.nancyguthrie.com for hosting this amazing, rejuvenating retreat! Awesome time spent with my BFF in Nashville prior to the retreat.

In our homeschool this week...
Lots of carschooling and homeschooling on the go. My BFF's 17 year old daughter who wants to be a teacher also pitched in to help with some schooling. Hmmmm.....strange! ....My daughter was able to get all of her work done in a short amount of time when it was someone else teaching her. Wow! I'm shocked!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
Nashville, Nashville, Nashville oh how I love thee!

My favorite thing this week was...
Sitting at my BFF's big kitchen table and talking for hours and meeting so many awesome, amazing people at the retreat! A truly blessed weekend!

What's working/not working for us...
Everything seems to be moving along at a pretty good pace for us right now. Praying it keeps up!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
What a blessing to be able to take off whenever I want and head west to Nashville. A homeschool schedule allows for freedom and flexibility. How blessed I am to be able to "do" school anywhere, anytime!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
"Is it only when our lives are emptied that we're suprised by how truly full our lives were." Ann Voskamp .... I've been reading 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and my friend Melissa posted this quote on FB today from the book. Have you read it yet? And if not, what are you waiting on???? It's an amazing, life-changing book!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Respite Retreat with the Guthries

Looking forward to this weekend when Robert & I will attend a respite retreat put on by David and Nancy Guthrie in Nashville. The retreat is for parents who have lost a child. It's been 5 years since we lost our sweet Mary Margaret, but in many ways it seems like only yesterday. It will be very healing to be with other people who have experienced similar losses. There will only be 12 couples, including us and the Guthries. I highly respect the Guthries. Nancy, an author, wrote the book "Holding on to Hope" which I read after MM died. She also wrote the devotional called "Hope" which a sweet friend gave me while we were living in the Ronald McDonald House. Her words had an amazing impact on me, as she and David lost two children about a year and half apart. Both children were around 6 months old when they died. Their story is amazing, and you can read it here: http://www.nancyguthrie.com/about/ .

In addition to spending the weekend at the retreat, we will spend Wed and Thu with my sweet BFF, Angel, who will be watching Lillie for us while we're away.

We would love your prayers as we go through the weekend, as I know that while it will be healing, it may also be painful at times to revisit the hardest time of our lives. Robert's parents gave us a beautiful antique trunk which I've wanted for years to put all of MM's things in. I always thought that I had "grieved well", if there is such a thing. But for whatever reason, I cannot bring myself to go through her things to put them in the trunk. I'm praying that this weekend will help bring some needed closure for me. Please also pray for the other 11 couples, as this is sure to be a difficult weekend for all of us.

Walk in love ....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Outside my window... it's dark out so I can't really see anything.

I am thinking... that I need to be working on Lesson Plans instead of blogging!

I am thankful for... getting to spend time with my sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews this weekend!

From the learning rooms... We are studying Egypt this week. We are members of Little Passports ... http://littlepassports.com/ and this is the country we received treats from this month. (Ironic considering the political upheaval in this country currently, isn't it?) While learning about mummification, we'll be "mummifying" some apples!

From the kitchen... Oh I need to be better about making and following a meal plan! One thing on the menu for sure this week will be ViSalus protein shakes for breakfast and lunch. Yummy!

I am wearing... flowery scrubs (I'm at work!)

I am creating... a scrapbook for a friend from his birthday party last October!

I am going... to Nashville to see my BFF on Wednesday! Then Friday Robert and I are attending a respite retreat facilitated by David & Nancy Guthrie for parents who have lost children.

I am reading... One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp ... an amazing book.

I am hoping... that none of us get sick this week.

I am hearing... the sound of my little patient's ventilator.

Around the house... We're planning to start cleaning out the "old playroom" and turn it into our antiques room. It is currently a DISASTER beyond your imagination. I could show you a picture, but I'm not going to. lol

One of my favorite things... my house flag that says "Welcome Y'all". I've wanted a "welcome" flag forever, but couldn't find one I loved. Well, I LOVE this one! Now I just need some company so I can hang it out!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Visiting my little friend Maddie on Monday, taking my dear friend Dawn and her precious son to the doctor on Tuesday, art class on Wednesday afternoon and THEN.... NASHVILLE here we come! Yippeee!

I'm Linking Up at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...the stomach bug. Ugh! The fun part though was having a 3 night sleep over at my friend Dawn's while my husband was out of town. And of course celebrating the 6th birthday of my precious girl!

In our homeschool this week... we actually got caught up finally on Friday! Lou Lou continues to struggle with phonics, but seems to be a whiz at math. Praying phonics gets easier as the year goes on.

Places we're going and people we're seeing... Sunday we went to the aquarium for L's birthday party. It was AWESOME! Especially the new penguin exhibit. It was perfect timing as we had just finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins last week!

My favorite thing this week was... my husband coming back from his business trip!

What's working/not working for us... Working: Using a timer and giving "Lou Lou Bucks" for getting her work done before the timer goes off. She's much more motivated, focuses better. It's just awesome. She's saving her "bucks" to go get a manicure and pedicure with me! I hope (for both of our sakes ... lol) that she doesn't cash them in beforehand!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
Winter Promise Advanced K program just seems so, well, um advanced for Lou! I wish I knew if it's the program, or if perhaps she's going to need some special help. Sigh. Michael learned to read after like 6 phonics lessons, and suddenly he was reading at a 3rd grade level. I know that's NOT normal, but therefore I don't know what IS normal. Someone please tell me what normal is!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

Shoot. Can't get photo to upload :( trying to post a pic of L in the penguin tunnel at the aquarium. Bummer. Maybe I can get it figured out next week. :)

Have a blessed week friends!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

25 Random Things About Me

1. I get a big mug of coffee before I do ANYTHING else in the morning!
2. I've homeschooled since 2003.
3. I'm a better planner than I am an implementer.
4. I married the nicest man on the planet. Period.
5. I gave birth to two baby girls in 2005, 11 months apart.
6. I gave birth to my son as a single parent in 1998.
7. I'm the youngest of 5 kids.
8. I have so many nieces, nephews, and greats that I've lost track how many there are. (40 something at least)
9. I'm still a daddy's girl even though he's been gone for over 6 years.
10. I'm a pediatric private duty nurse and I LOVE my kiddos!
11. When I work nights, I drink a Venti Carmel Machiatto, iced with no ice, and an extra shot and the guys at the Alcoa Highway Starbucks start making my drink when I walk in the door. (Is that bad?)
12. I'm a Disney fanatic.
13. I used to work at the TN Prison for Women and have given meds to death row inmates.
14. In a psychotic state, one inmate threatened to bite my nose off.
15. If I could live anywhere I'd live in Nashville, TN.
16. In my personal version of hell: there is screechy guitar music, a bunch of animals, and it smells like vinegar.
17. I actually LOVE my in-laws.
18. I know all the words to the iCarly theme song.
19. I can be horribly moody.
20. Though I'm nowhere close, my greatest desire is to be a Proverbs 31 woman.