Friday, March 30, 2012

Bibles, Baking and Backrides--I Finally Have Something to Share on the Weekly Wrap Up!

This week started off slow but ended up pretty good! I've never shared anything on the weekly wrap-up. Partly because I just start home schooling this year and partly because I just didn't feel like we were doing anything special or different enough to share. Well I am slowly coming to the truth of the knowledge that every home school is different and looks differently. I am also slowly learning what our home school should actually be. For instance I found out this week that my Madison is absolutely and totally a visual learner. I'd been a little confused because she plays piano and although she's learning how to read music she has a definite ear for it as well. Meaning she can hear a note or notes and find it on the keyboard and remember the melody and so forth. This lead me to believe that she was an auditory learner but she is in fact a visual. She gets soooo extremely bored with instruction and that would confuse me. But this week as I finally started to hang posters and put up tips and key thoughts and bight and colorful artwork, she became so seriously excited about school.

On to our week. In the above photo is our three year old getting a back ride from Daddy. She is immensely in love with her Daddy time. She loves hard and she plays hard. She still wants to go at it looooong after your will lug her around on your neck or back or leg has gone but Daddy is so very willing and patient with her.

Madison zipping down to freezing temps.
In our curriculum, we began covering temperature. The curriculum gave instructions on how to make a zipper thermometer. I thought how cool and did it. So just as it sounds, you take a coat zipper, glue it to a poster or some cardboard, make sure you are not hindering the zipper from moving. Then you write in your temps along the side of the zipper onto the poster and you can even decorate the top space of the poster with a beach scene or the sun to indicate the further up you go on the zipper thermometer the hotter it gets. By the same token, you can decorate the bottom of the poster underneath the 0 temp., with a cold snowy scene to guessed it, cold or freezing temps.
Carefully looking for 74 degrees
Excited about our new zipper thermometer
My kid loved this project and loved learning how to read a thermometer and facts about temperature and weather. After going over the facts from the lesson, we even went outside and guessed what the temperature was outside. Initially she was a little low, so we went out again and she guessed 70 degrees. We then came inside, set our thermometer and checked for the actual we temperature in our city and she was only 4 degrees off! So we zipped up the thermometer to 74 degrees. So much fun!

Something else exciting that I learned this week is that both my 6 year old and 3 year old have the entire 23rd Psalms from the Good News Bible memorized!!! It's been our scripture that we've been reading before starting school everyday for about 8 weeks now. We've read it more often than not but not everyday. Well I learned on Monday morning that Madison has it down pat word for word without any help! I did not set out to teach them the memory of this passage of scripture it just happened out of shear repetition. I love it! And our 3 year old has it about 98% memorized. She occasionally needs me to start a line for her and then she's off and running for 4-5 lines without any help. Let me just tell you that there has been no greater feeling, as a mother of school-aged children, for me than to hear my little butterflies recite God's word based on my sharing it with them on a consistent basis. What tops that? The word of God is getting in their hearts. It feels like I'm doing my job as a parent. Praise God!

Sorry that I don't have more pics from the week but I've misplaced my phone.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pratical Homeschooling Magazine - Another Review that No One Asked Me to do. :)

So I got this magazine in the mail last week called Practical Homeschooling. I'd forgotten that I'd asked for it a couple of months ago when I first started homeschooling so I was excited when I pulled it out of the mailbox. I waited until I'd finished cleaning before I read it so that I could (hopefully) enjoy it in a nice quiet clean room of the house.

When the perfect moment presented itself some 4 or 5 hours later!!! I did, I sat down and read through several of the truly inspiring, entertaining and informing articles. I have nothing to compare this magazine to because I don't subscribe to any homeschooling magazine but I found articles like 101 reasons to home school-I don't know about you but anytime I can add to my arsenal on the subject of "why home school" I am all ears or in this case, "eyes". I don't know why. I know that my husband and I are completely in agreement and convinced that this is what we should do, but it just helps to get other homeschoolers' perspectives on why they do it. It sort of strengthens my conviction each time as a new home schooling mom.

There were other informing articles on subjects like the privacy of our kids' school records and what's going on with that inside of the public school system. There were articles on schooling of course covering subjects like astronomy, history and reading. Speaking of astronomy, did any of you get a look at Venus and Jupiter and the Moon in the sky last night? It was a great science tidbit for both girls. We covered how many planets there are and other little topics like that. then we came inside and pulled up the phenom on the web and learned about why and how we were able to see those planets. It would have been better with a telescope but it was still great.

As with every great informational source on hoe schooling, there were some curriculum reviews and product reviews inside as well.

So far this seems to be a really good magazine for beginning and experienced home schoolers. I found a lot of helpful and encouraging articles that also tickled my brain in a very entertaining way.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How the First Week of Spring Went Down in our Home

First Day of Spring School
We truly had a beautiful week. We did school out doors on the first day of Spring! I'd planned to have the children write about what they saw, heard, smelled, on the first day of Spring. However, we never got to it and still haven't and it is the end of the week! Madison keeps asking when will we do our Spring project and I keep saying, we will get to it, and we will. But I would be lying if I didn't say that, I'm in no hurry to do it since we missed the appointed day (which was only MY appointed day...I am working on becoming more flexible). There are officially what, 90 days in a season? We have about 85 more days left of this wonderful season of the year...I'm SURE we will get it done! -bad mommy-

I was kind of wacky this week. Just a little irritable and fun for me. I'm usually too tired to get on to the kids and to me, it seems they kick the misbehaving up a notch when I'm my tiredest. If that is true, it's a good thing that it happens that way. While, yeah, I want to pull my hair out at their noise and running in the store aisles and picking up almost everything they see...I'm too tired to, so that saves them from some yelling and corner standing and romp popping! :) I love my little daisies...they are so much fun and both are truly very sweet but in different ways.

Chelsea read her first book this week. That was fun. I do feel like that maybe I'm pushing her too fast but that is based on the fact that her sister didn't read her first book til she was four and I have Chelsea doing it at three. Couple that with the fact that my "Everest" is my ever trying to accomplish ABSOLUTE fairness toward the get where my questioning whether or not I'm pushing her too fast comes from.

Madison's favorite subject this week was still cursive writing!!!! I love that she loves that. I am also looking forward to supplementing our traditional curriculum with some great Unit Study curriculum concepts. Madison is absolutely a hands on learner. She loves doing projects and says that she is really good at inventions. She really gets bored fast with lecture type instruction so I am ready to spark and feed her learning style with a couple of unit Study concepts. Right now I am looking at Moving Beyond the Page. It looks perfect for us. They have one concept for Madison's age range that has an entire lesson on inventors and inventions and instructs on how the child can look around the home to come up with an idea to invent. I am truly giddy over getting and starting this program. From the start, we will only supplement one concept for Madison and one for Chelsea. Chelsea is my numbers girl and is really great with recognizing patterns and loves working with them. Moving Beyond the Page has an entire concept on patterns within her age range. I say again, I Am Giddy!

I'm about as giddy as I was when using my new griddle today! Saturday morning pancakes are always a hit at my house and now that I can make more than one or two at a is AWESOME!! 

I received a magazine in the mail yesterday from Practical Homeschooling. It is filled with wonderfully encouraging articles. I cant say enough right now about some of the articles so I'm going to gather my thoughts on the magazine articles that I've read and put a post together solely on some of the topics from this magazine. I am looking forward to subscribing to it in the very near future. I already recommend it if you are new to homeschooling, like me!

Well our time must come to an end at this point...until next time...hugs!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Little Bit of This and A Whole Lot of That

On the previous post I said that Madison LOVES cursive writing...after I published the post I found this statement, that she obviously wrote some weeks earlier, in her tablet (lines 9 & 10) We hadn't even practiced half of those letters!!!

A lot has been happening in the Rich family lately. A lot of little things I suppose. So let's start with Friday. School time was pretty basic, Friday is review day for us. It's where Mommy the Teacher pulls it altogether and tries to make sense out of everything that we've covered during the week. I usually try to have it in a different room of the house than where we've done school work all week and I try to incorporate some sort of game into it to make it fun rather than boring and laborious. So we went over our spelling list. That called for a little movement because I had her to give a thumbs up if I spelled the word correctly and to give me a thumbs down if I spelled it incorrectly (with my kid a simple thumbs up turns into a spin around followed by a jump in the air that ends with a thumb shot way up in the air, see). We also went over next week's spelling list in the same manner in order for me to gauge where she is. The problem I have with Madison is that I taught her how to read before she went to preschool. And I didn't not use phonics to teach her. My friend informed me that I use the "whole language" approach. This has produced a problem for us because now that we are using a traditional curriculum, there are things that she has mastered and then there are some very basic things that we haven't covered because we didn't need to. For instance, I tend not to think about spelling because she is such a wonderful reader. I figure if you read enough, you will know how to spell kind of out of habit. However, it concerns me that she may end up with "holes" in her knowledge or that she will end up being a terrible speller later in life. So in the past three weeks we've put more and more focus on spelling and trying to incorporate it into our weekly schedule. The weekly review seems to be a great place for going over spelling words. I've learned that she really does have a solid understanding of how to use phonics correctly when spelling. So we will continue on with our fitting it into our weekly schedule.

With Binky (Chelsea), we continue to cover phonics as well. She has learned how to read very simple books and very big sight words. I'm using the whole language approach with her as well but realizing how frustrating things have been for me with Madison, I am learning from that experience and teaching Chelsea some phonics along with her learning to read and sound out whole words. So good.

Chelsea writing words at the board during Friday Review

We also did a couple of fun art projects. We sat outside and painted still life photos of two trees in our neighborhood. We also painted some wind chime/birdhouses that the girls loved. I bought this little kit at Big Lots for 10.00. It included two complete wind chimes, paint and a paintbrush. I'm sure a more experience home schooling mom could have told me how to do this type of project for free. :) One day I will learn all of the tricks of the trade!! For now though, I'm glad Big Lots had a simple little art project that we could do. I am in need of a good elementary grade level art curriculum because the girls love it and from Mommy's perspective are really good little artists and I want to continue to feed that part of them.
Left is the Tulip Tree in our neighbor's yard and right is Madison's artistic interpretation of the Tulip Tree.

Left is the actual Weeping Cherry Blossom Tree and right is Chelsea's artistic interpretation of the Weeping Cherry Blossom Tree.
Wind Chime art project
Now Madison has kind of roped the whole family into a Friday Family Fun Night. She will not let up about it at all. It all started a couple of weeks ago when she took it upon herself to plan a family party and called it "the party to bring the whole family altogether." I was perplexed by the title and finally got around to asking her why she thought we needed to bring the whole family together. I mean really, there's only four of us and Mommy stays home with the kids all day and I cook dinner 5-6 nights a week of which we all eat at the dinner table. Daddy is home every night at the same time for the most part. I mean, come on kid, what more could we do? She didn't really give me an answer so I chocked it up to a six year imagination or something. Well, after we had the party, a week later, in front of my sister-in-law, she says that "we needed to have the party because Mommy was talking a little mean to Daddy and we were all a little mad at each other." Of course I want to dig a little deeper so later we talk more about it and it turns out that we had the party because I talk a little mean to everybody!!! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! It was so funny that I didn't want to cry at all, it is just funny to hear a six year old tell you her honest feelings. It was one of those priceless moments in life with your kid. Would it have been great to hear that I was just so super nice to everybody that she felt like Mommy needed to have a party...yes! But I'll take this as a learning experience...maybe. I think I am just stern. I did say to her that I could probably do a little better and she said "yeah, you can always do a little better." LOL This kid was hilarious.

We also celebrated my Dad's birthday this week. He turned 53, so down to the country we went! My kids love going to our family house down in the country, the street that the house is own is actually named after my family, my maiden name and they just love that. They also love to run and climb the trees, climb on my granddaddy's old tractors and heavy equipment in the back yard...some of the same stuff that I used to do as a kid.

 I didn't get any pictures from Friday family fun night, but what I do have from the week, I gladly share with you! Until next time...


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Park...Our Classroom.

The park is our classroom!
Today was sooo much fun! We went to one of the many playgrounds/parks in our area of the world and had class. Above, Chelsea practices writing the capital letter M as Madison works on her math. The weather was beautiful! One of the best days yet. I suppose Mother Nature wanted to share an inside scoop on what she has in store for us this coming Spring. The pollen fell from the trees like snow from the sky, covering everything beneath it. The bees were buzzing and wasps flying as 6 year olds (only mine) ran screaming in tears. LOL! Madison is truly working through her distrust of bumble bees and wasps. We've researched them online to help her realize that if she doesn't bother them, the chances of her being stung is nil. She calmed down quite a bit from last Spring but is still on alert at every turn. A couple of times I heard her coaching the children in what not to do as it relates to Mother Nature's little helpers. She my little leader in training. They both are.
Mr. Lizard...where are you???

We woke up today around 10am after getting in from church a little late last night. Come to think of it my kids always wake up after 9:30 what a blessing for me! I usually need a couple of extra hours of sleep after my husband goes to work. We ate breakfast, brushed our teeth, got dressed and headed to the park. I packed a lunch and our entire curriculum and off we fled the indoors on our way to the best classroom of all times.

The girls played with three different sets of children today because we were there so long. We picked out our table and Madison continued to work on a "chapter book" that she began writing early this morning entitled The Prince and Princess go to the Ball so I started working with Chelsea with her sight words. It is so amazing to watch her go through her words so effortlessly these days. I'm very happy that I started with them really early with reading, it has made all the difference in their confidence level when it comes to reading anything in print. And although Chelsea is reading the simplest of books right now, at three years old she is poised and on track to be a fluent reader within the year. What more could a Mommy/Teacher ask for from her right now.
Discovering science and nature - a vacated bird's nest found on the ground!

After Madison finished the first chapter of her story, and Chelsea read about 30 or so sight words, I let them take a 10 minute break to run around the park just craving the attention of two little girls. We started back up with Math and writing, then we had to move to another table because the sun started to shine its glory right above us. Around 1pm, we ate lunch and the kids headed back out to play some more. I gave them 30 minutes of play time but to my surprise, Madison came back after 10 minutes wanting to move on to her next subject. I should have seen this coming. Her next subject was cursive writing and she LOVES "fancy writing" she's doing quite well. She's very artistic and I think that this is why cursive writing appeals to her so much, it's a lot like art, in fact I feel that it is an art. It's no longer being taught in public schools but since it is part of her curriculum, and since she is always trying to write fancy like Mommy does sometimes and partly because they are no longer teaching it in schools, I wanted to make sure she learns it and thankfully, it is not a struggle, she looks forward to doing it each day.

After going back to play, I planned on calling them back to the table for more schooling. However, they'd gotten into such a zone with James and Lilly, a brother and sister who came to the park with their Grandfather, that I found it hard to call them away. So I gave them a 10 minute warning. Ten minutes later, I just couldn't do it. They were having such fun. James and Lilly were the kind of kids that I wish I could have on some sort of retainer fee to call on to play with my kids ANYTIME! Well behaved, kind, considerate, able to work well within a group (sounds like a resume' right)? I am just saying, finding good kids who are disciplined along the same lines as your kids is like a breath of fresh air these days. Not like when my husband and I were kids, most parents were teaching their children the same things...not these are allowed to say and do a lot more than we were at their age and frankly I can't handle it. I still believe in a well behaved kid. Yes, one who is allowed to make choices and who speaks up for themselves and who has an opinion; but selfish, disrespectful  and mean, I just find almost unbearable and prefer my kids hang out with the opposite. So, in no uncertain terms, thank God for James and Lilly and kids like them.

Whoa!!! What a rabbit trail. Anyhow, I decided not to call them back to the table for work. I decided that today...they were learning leadership skills and how to work well within a group and how to make new friends and discovery and getting plenty of exercise while at it. Now I am the kind of mommy/teacher who can be very rigid and I tend to push my kids because I feel I know when they are giving it their all so for me to relinquish my plans and abandon my lesson plans for a life skills day was HUGE and our first! But I am so glad that I did. I can honestly say that I believe my kids learned just as valuable a lesson today as reading, writing and arithmetic. They learned how to make new friends. Everyday comes with its own set of opportunities and built in lessons, I have to be flexible enough to recognize it and submit to it from time to time. :)


Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Speak Up - The Morgan Love Series by Stephanie Perry Moore

Let me start by saying that no one has asked me to review this book. I am reviewing it simply because of how my daughters and I have loved reading it together night after night. I was in a department store looking in the book section and came across this book entitled Speak Up. On the cover was a beautiful little girl about my child's age and she appeared to be bi-racial so naturally I was intrigued. I read the back cover and the little girl was writing in her diary (it reminded me of my love for Judy Blume books when I was in elementary school) and talking about some of the tough things that she was going through in second grade and whether or not she should do what her Daddy has always told her to do which was, speak up.

At that point the book was as good as bought because that was a subject that we'd discussed with Madison every since pre-k. Madison was very reserved then and very compassionate and understanding. She's still very compassionate but not so reserved. At any rate, my husband and I found ourselves telling her that she needed to speak up when she found herself in unfavorable circumstances. She had been bossed around by one of the little girls in her class in pre-k. She got better with time definitely but this year her kindergarten teacher made the same comment to us about her being more of an advocate for herself in negative situations.

You can imagine my elation to find a book on that very same subject matter by an author of young adult Christian fiction titles, that's not a picture book but an actual chapter book. This meant that we could read it over a series of weeks and dissect each section and pick it apart bit by bit. You may be wondering if that is even possible with a 6 and 3 year old. It is. We'd read chapter books before like the classic, Black Beauty, and a really cute book she'd brought home from the Library about kids playing on the playground, unfortunately I don't remember its title. So reading chapter books at night before bed have been some of the most enjoyable reading times for us because we get to pick up where we left off and kind of put the whole story together in our minds as we go and the girls really enjoy it as do I.

Now to the point, this book it is great! It is written in an easy to read format and the story flows very smoothly so that the kids can truly see in their minds what is happening in the story and maintain interested from section to section. Stephanie Perry Moore is a really great children's book author for this age group!
Madison Reading While Walking

Not only that, but she sincerely and with detail dives into the topic on an elementary level. The conversations that take place in the book by the main character flow really well and sound age appropriate, as if a second grader is really talking. I'm sure this is not easy when the author passed that stage of life some decades ago! Madison said to me just tonight after I finished the section that we're on, "I'm really interested in this book Mom!" A SIX year old! She even picked it up earlier today to read ahead and I joked with her about it and she said "I just want to know what happens!"  I even caught her reading while walking, it was funny and cute.
Reading Ahead

If you are looking for a book to help you talk entertainingly on the matter of your child speaking up for themselves, this is a great one. If you are looking for something that will reiterate what you have already discussed with your child(ren) in this area, this is a great book! If you are just looking for an entertaining read for your story time, this is a really, really great one. If you want to spark a love for reading in your little ones this book may surely help with that. It has both my kids hooked and looking forward to story time more and more every night. This book has everything in it for any family with elementary age children dealing with family changes, making friends, talking issues out with parents, prayer, etc.

I am eager to obtain more Stephanie Perry Moore titles! I hope you check it out if you are in this stage of life with your kids.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Home Schooling: It's a Process!

Hello there again!

I am so excited to be sharing from my blog again about my personal journey and experiences with home schooling. Now I can hardly be called an authority on the subject so if that is what you are looking for, keep reading, then go to She is an authority along with a lot of the bloggers that she guest writes for and some of the followers of her blog. Beyond that, I just love reading her posts. I happened upon one today from another blog that she'd written an article for last year called 30 things she's learned about home schooling or something like that that just blessed  my socks off! Seriously, it was just so darn real and good. But first, as I said, keep reading since you've landed on my blog THEN go to hers. :) All is fair in love and blogging. Just kidding.  LOL Can you tell that it is late and I'm silly?

Ok, before I bore you to tears and send you running to another blog, I'd like to share another little something about what I've learned so far on this journey. We are now entering our 3rd month of schooling from home and I can tell you point blank, beyond any doubt at all, that learning from home is a process for the child and for the Parent.

My sweet little 6 year old is going through a major adjustment to home schooling and she has jumped in with both feet. She LOVES being home with her mommy and sister and she absolutely loves Mommy the Teacher. She hasn't asked for any of her school friends or to go back to school at all so, all in all she is doing quite well. The learning process however, does not stop just because her Mommy is the teacher now. She is still only a 6 year old who grasps some concepts easily and others more slowly. She still gets bored with a lot of instruction at one time and prefers it broken up into smaller chunks. She likes to "hear and do." Then hear again and do again. Sometimes she's taken the marker right out of hand to do what I just taught and at that moment if I remain "Teacher" and not Mommy it is o.k. But if my Mommy gene kicks in, I will reprimand her for snatching - as I see that as impolite. I've learned though, that that puts a stopper on her enthusiasm for learning. Boy, the first time I realized that one, I wanted to crawl into a whole and not come out for about 4 days! No one wants to thwart their own child's love and excitement for learning (that's what shcool is for) just kidding...but this process of learning is not just for her, it has been - and I have a sneaking suspicion - will continue to be for me as well.

One of my home schooling friends warned me about expecting her to grasp an entire concept immediately and how that is totally unnecessary as all good curricula will revisit and review a former concept over and over again throughout the year. Yet, I found myself and still continue to catch myself in the mindset of trying to milk a concept in its entirety all in one day. Insanity.

I'm very sleepy and I hope this post has been helpful. In short, when I look into my daughters, loving and compassionate eyes during our school day, I wish I could think to say to her in a most loving manner...sweetheart, learning is a process, for you and for me. But I don't, that's the last thing that I am thinking when I am trying to get her to read and understand how to use a ruler correctly. LOL!!!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Home School Co-Op: Is It For You?

I visited a wonderful little co-op this past week. I was first introduced to the concept of home school co-ops by my friend Lorrie, who has been home schooling for about 10 years, I think. She had her kids attending the one at our church years before I had kids so it didn't register on my radar AT ALL. But now, roughly 7 years later, I am all ears and she is still attending a co op, just not at our church. Anyway, what are co ops?

Well, in my very own words, a co-op is a neat little hybrid of home schooling and private school. It is an opportunity for for families who treasure the idea of their children having regular interaction with other kids in an actual school setting. You generally pay a small fee for each class that you wish for your child or children to take and the classes can either be core subjects or electives and in some cases, with some co-ops both class types are offered and you can attend all or some of each or still choose between the two types of classes.

Within a co-op, usually the parents are the teachers and administrators. With the one that I am interested in, each position with the organization has points assigned to it and each parent of the co op has to sign up for at least a 5 point job and if you exceed 9 points you get a discount on your monthly cost for classes. Sounds complicated or ridiculous? It's not, it is just to make sure that the organization runs smoothly and so that every important function of the co-op is covered for the children's sakes.

Upon my visit to this home school co-op, I saw parents just like me. Moms and Dads who have a vested interest in their child(ren)'s education. It was wonderful.How do you know if a co op is right for you or if you are right for it? Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before you decide:

  1. Are you social enough? There will be several families all working together toward a common goal and in pretty close quarters.
  2. Are you willing to teach a class subject, help clean the facility, organize social outings or field trips? Sounds like a lot of work...something to think about!
  3. Are or can you be organized enough? I am not the most organized person but I have no problem organizing 1 or 2 areas of my life! As a co-op participant, you may be called upon to teach or assist a teacher in a class. With that responsibility comes, assigning, grading and recording homework grades. This may only be for accredited co ops but still something to consider.
  4. How important to you is it that your child have the classic "classroom" experience? Our organization's classrooms are anything but traditional. This kids sit in these really nice comfortable chairs around a really large table; large enough for projects, experiments and enough room to comfortably do schoolwork. It's a great environment for free thinking and learning.
  5. Are you willing or looking to share the responsibility of your child's education with other parents just like you.
  6. Can you afford it? You are still responsible for purchasing your yearly curriculums and now you will also have a monthly bill for the classes that your child(ren) are taking. Our monthly charge per class is 5.00-just to give you an idea.
These are just a few questions to get you started. I love doing all of the above so a home school co op fits us perfectly. We attend one day per week, all day, just as if it were a regular school day and then the rest of the week I school at home. My kids will have friends that when we go out on field trips, she'll already be familiar with. The cost to my family is nominal, the payoff academically speaking is enormous. We have some dedicated parents who love what they do, teaching each and every class of our co-op. It is exciting!

*Feel free to share your thoughts on Home School Co-Ops!

Share This

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...