School Has Begun!

The official start of school was yesterday, and it is going great guns!!!  There was blood, sweat, and tears!  OK….maybe not blood, but definitely sweat and tears.

We began with a unit study on Self Control.  We have a Self Control Goal (complete with posterboard) for the next 6 weeks.  We have to get 110 stars AS A FAMILY  for going above and beyond when it comes to Self Control.  This includes Controlling our Eating, our Anger, our Thoughts, etc.  It’s close to the end of Day 2, and we have 3 stars.  Almost all of them for Spending More Time on Spiritual Pursuits.

We have a First Week of School Project.  Every day we will be doing something different to celebrate the First Week of School.

Monday – we took the First Day of School Pictures that every homeschooler takes, with the kids holding up signs saying what grade they are in.

Tuesday – today I wrote up the following questions and they had to answer them.

1.  What can YOU do to have a great year this year?  The best answer: Barbie. “I vow to concentrate and reach for good grades.”

2.  What can I do to help you succeed this year?  The best answer: BAM!. “If you see me start to give up help me.” (They all had answers similar to that, so I need to do more encouraging.)

3. What do YOU hope to learn this year? The best answer: Eyes. “I hope to lean about God.” (misspelling is his)

4. Our family should be ____________________ every day! The best answer: Kissy. “I think our family should be respectful all the time to one anothe everday.” (misspelling is hers)

5. School is important because __________________. The best answer: Barbie. “School is important because it teaches you how to survive the business world.”

Wednesday – we will be creating our own “Twitter” accounts (fake)

Thursday – each child will be summing up his slogan for the day of his twitter account….in other words, creating a “tweet”.

We started our Language Arts books, and Barbie started her English III books.  It’s going to be an adjustment, but I can’t say enough about how much I like the IBLP Language Arts books.  It already has my 2nd and 3rd grader beginning basic outlines.  What a great skill to learn!!!!!!

All 3 girls are loving their individual science classes.  And I’m caught up on grading!  (Minor miracle, I won’t be for long!)

Fellow homeschoolers:  How is YOUR first week going????

 

My Self Control

I really really really can’t wait for school to start…even though i have so much to do.  I find it ironic that our next main topic of study is Self Control.  Why?  Because I am so far behind in everything that I need to get done!  Between cheer and football season, the crochet projects I’ve promised to people, the sewing projects I’ve promised to people, getting ready for the Back to School Back Pack Bash at my church, catching up on my grading, and then the regular Mommy chores…I am overwhelmed and out of discipline.

Do you ever get that way?  I am over-committed, on a regular basis.  And I need to get back in control because Children in Action is starting in September and I’m not ready for that either!!!!!

So how am I going to emphasize self control when I don’t have it????  First things first…I need to get back into a school routine.  And I have the bones of that done….I just need to really emphasize being disciplined.  I kept a fairly tight schedule yesterday and Barbie noticed.  But I got more done yesterday then I did last week!  I’m working on waking up early as well.  So we will be running a tight ship during cheer and football season so that I can get everything done.

Here is my schedule for school…Kind of;)

I’ll be waking up at 5:30 am: praying, stumbling to the laundry room to start the first load of laundry, grabbing a cup of coffee (or green tea) and then going to do my morning devotion.  Once finished, I’ll start my second load of laundry for the day, go wake up the kids, and then work out. (Yes, I’m trying it again!  I’ve stuck with it for 3 weeks this time!!!)

Once the girls are up and going, I leave them in charge for the half hour it takes me to shower.  They will make sure the boys are ready for the day and they are ready for the day.

Then I’ll cook breakfast.  We’ll have breakfast while I’m reading a book to them.  Our first biography this year will be about Adoniram Judson (he was a missionary in Burma).

We’ll finish eating and doing our kitchen chores then head to the living room for our Family Wisdom Search.  Quick note on our Kitchen chores.  Every one has their own chores and I set the timer for 15 minutes.  While they are picking up the kitchen, I’m folding and then starting a new load of laundry.  They all come and get their pile of clothes when I call them. Our Wisdom Search we only do for about 15 minutes as well.

Then on to our Wisdom Booklet, Music, and their Project Work.  While they are working their projects, I’ll be cooking our main meal of the day.  We all eat together, do Kitchen chores, and then I’ll have about 15 minutes on the computer to check facebook while they are being silly and goofing. 😉  Or arguing with each other, depending on the day. 😉

Next is English.  Barbie is completely independent in this except for grading.  BAM! and Kissy are on the same level, and the boys are all on the same level.  So I will take turns teaching while the groups are doing independent work.  Because of me teaching – this will be 1/2 hour.  This will also give them time to study for spelling, vocabulary, and dictation quizzes.  How they do on their quizzes will determine if they move up a minor level or not. 😉

And then Math for the kids – this is pretty much independent and gives me time to grade the work they have done so far…logging it for the children that have report cards. (If we study math that week as a school, the kids will have a break during this time)

After Math, the boys have a break.  They can choose to work on what they haven’t finished school wise or their chores.  But let’s be honest…they’ll play!!!!  The girls will be taking turns doing typing lessons.  On days they don’t have typing, they have the same choices as the boys (except for Barbie…she has SAT prep class).  What will I be doing?  Working on my “to do” list of the day.

Now it’s Super Clean Time.  We all work together cleaning one room of the house.  We get as much done as we can in 1/2 hour.  The kids hate this time…but they like it better than doing it individually.  We power through!!!!!

Then the girls will do their Independent Science while the boys take turns playing on the computer.  (If we have science as a school that week, the girls will not have science).  I will be working more on my “to do” list!  After about 1/2 hour everyone has free time!  Me too!!!!  This is when I get to crochet, sew, or read!    Then I’ll get our snack ready, and pre prepare anything we need for dinner.  We’ll have a snack…clean up real quick, and get ready for football!

When we all get home, we take turns showering, and eating.  We are doing a family wisdom search at that time as well!  I will tuck all the kids in…and then read myself to sleep!

After looking at all of that, do you see why I need self control??????

If I don’t, I will easily throw everything that needs to be done and play on facebook or computer games all day.  It’s way too easy to do!!!!!

Reading all of that made me tired!!!!  And it’s time for me to start cooking!  Gotta get on the schedule!  Have a blessed day all!!!!

 

Homeschool 101: Planning

Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty as they say.  It’s time to really talk about how to schedule.  *****WARNING:  FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL HOMESCHOOLS!******

In fact, you may read this and think, “In a Pig’s Eye!”.  Or you may read this and think, I’ll take this idea or this idea and use it, but the rest of it, no way!

The simple fact is, no two homeschools look-alike.  No two homes look-alike.  I have a friend, she came over for dinner the other night in fact.  She has 6 children, just like I do.  But she is not real big on schedules.  She knows what she would like to get accomplished, but for the most part, she follows her children in what they want to learn…and the entire family just digs in and has at it!  And it works for her….wonderfully!!!!!  Her children are happy, they have a love for learning, and they ARE learning!  Tremendously!

My family can not do this (and my friend and I actually had a conversation about this).  I’ve tried the no scheduling thing….I clean and the kids play legos!  That doesn’t work for me.  So I schedule.  I OVERschedule.  I’m trying to do better on this, by the way.  Leaving more room for relaxation and play.  In fact, this year I bought several games for school – just don’t tell the kids they are learning games, OK?????

You have several options for scheduling (which I believe I’ve mentioned).  You can school year round.  You can school only when the public schools are in session.  You can do a Sabbath schedule.  I even ran across someone who does a monthly schedule (they school for four weeks and break for one)!

Papi and I have come to the conclusion that we prefer the Sabbath Schedule.  We school for 6 weeks, then take a week off.  We do that six times, with several weeks off during Christmas (this year we are actually taking off the entire month of December). This actually gives us a 7 week Summer Jubilee!!!!

Once you’ve figured out about what your schedule is going to look like, you can actually plan it out.  I have done the planning for the entire year before….but it really doesn’t work for me.  I get very stressed if something doesn’t go according to plan….especially if someone is running behind on something.  So this year I have a NEW PLAN.  You ready?  It’s pretty revolutionary (tongue in cheek).  I’m going to only plan for each Unit.  In other words, in the week I have off….I’ll plan in general for what we will do the next 6 weeks – and do more intense planning the Friday before we actually do that week.  Did I confuse you?  Ok – let me break it down. 😉

I have a planner.  I know what I want to get accomplished for the 6 weeks.  I want to go through the entire Wisdom Booklet and the kids to get through the Language Arts that goes with the Wisdom Booklet.  AND I want them to work in Math, Keyboarding (for the girls), and Science (for the girls).  So this will be what my scheduling looks like.  During Sabbath week I will read thru the Wisdom Booklet and plan what week we are doing certain things.

So I will have a title each week for Scripture/Music, Resources (that’s what we are working on in the WB), Projects, Additional Studies (Language Arts, Math, Keyboarding, and Science) and Other (this is for Service Projects, play dates, other stuff that is going to be done that week).

I will read thru my Wisdom Booklet, making special notes of supplies I might need to purchase for each week, Picking Memory Verses we will be working on, researching books to pick up at the library and finding fun hands-on projects to drive the points home.  I will write it all down in pencil in my planning book in my “Notes” section.  I will check where everyone is in Math, Keyboarding, and Science and decide where I would like them to be by the end of the unit.  If they need something particular for a science project, then I will put that down in my “to buy” section as well.  Believe it or not, even with 6 kids…this usually only takes me a couple of hours.  I easily get this done during the first two days of our Sabbath break.  If I need something I know that I can’t get at the local market, i’ll order it (if budget allows) right away.

So within a couple of hours, I have a more specific idea of what is going to happen in the next 6 weeks.  Then each week (Friday or Saturday), Papi and I take about 1/2 hour together and really go thru what we will be doing the next week.  We scan through everything, we even plan our family devotions out for the week so that they reflect our focus for the week.  We break down what we will be doing each day, including family projects, individual projects, and final quizzes.  After that, I take about 1/2 hour to get any extra stuff set up that I need to….items for crafts, maybe a poster board with our Character Focus and goal or if we will have an extra focus.  Then I’ll go through their Math, Keyboarding, and Science, and write what I would like them to accomplish for the entire week.  And finally, I write down the plan for each day in Language Arts.  This will take me about 1 to 2 hours.  Sometimes I break it into 2 days, just for my sanity. 🙂

Now I want to warn you.  And this is something that I really need you to hear.  So If I’ve said it before, it bears repeating.  Homeschool is NOT Public School at home.  Let me say it again….Homeschool is NOT Public School at home!  Please, as you are making your day-to-day schedule, don’t make your kids work for 8+ hours.  They don’t need to do so!  Public school is 8 hours because they have 28 kids in a class. Several years ago I read several books by Charlotte Mason and I truly LOVE the way she does school.  NO CLASS should be longer than 15 minutes.  Except math, and that should only be 30 minutes.

I don’t have the minute to minute schedule made out for next school year, yet, because things have changed A LOT in the last couple of months.  But I do have an idea of what a day MIGHT look like, so I’ll give you a little glimpse in the mind of this crazy Homeschool Mama.

We will start school at 10 am.  We will work in our Wisdom Booklet (together) for about an hour.  But….WAIT….you just said no more than 15 minutes.  You are right.  I did.  We will work on music for about 10 minutes.  Then we will be taking turns reading in whatever resource.  Some weeks that will be in Greek, or really working on tearing apart our scripture.  It could be that we’ll be working in History or Geography or Anatomy.  It really depends on that Wisdom Booklet. We read together, someone reading, taking turns.  So the older kids are reading to the younger, and the younger are working on their reading skills.  I will also be asking questions.  And we will get up for a cleaning stretch midway…so we won’t be sitting for long!  At 11 am, I will assign everyone their projects for the week on Monday and they will all scatter into different rooms to work on them. They will work for about an hour, I’ll be making lunch and answering questions all the while.  They get 45 minutes for lunch, then we do a 15 minute pick up and we’re at it again.  I’m not really sure how it will go from 1 – 2 but I know that each kid will have math for 30 minutes every day.  Some days kids will be working in Keyboarding or Science for 15 minutes.  And everyone will have to work in Language Arts for at least 15 minutes per day.  I have to work out how I’m going to do it, and it really depends on how their Language Arts Levels work out.  I already know that Smarty Pants and Eyes are in the same level, I haven’t tested the other four yet…that’s on my “to do” list.

Then that’s it!  Anything they need to work on after that is their choice (teaching responsibility and diligence is really important).  I want my kids to be independent learners.  It’s important to me that they work independently successfully.  I know for sure all of the kids will want to go out and play for a little bit, until it starts to rain at least.  Then everyone will come in and continue to work on anything they need to finish….”Homework” if you will.  A lot of times the older girls will take their work into the front yard and do their workbooks or projects outside while waiting for the neighborhood kids to get home from school.  Then they put them in my trunk while they talk to their friends.  I know this because after their friends have had a snack and a drink, played some basketball or soccer, talked a little,  and gone home, the girls forget their books in the trunk and can’t find them the next day!!!!!

I always keep in mind that the goals I have for them are just that…goals.  And not every goal is reached.  That’s important.  As long as the kids are working hard and practicing diligence, I’m ok if we don’t necessarily reach our goals.

I hope this helps a little.  If you are having trouble scheduling, please contact me….I am seriously the scheduling Queen and can help you get it set up.  In fact I have ANOTHER friend (wow – 2 – it’s some kind of record!) that I am actually going to help her plan out her “minute by minute” schedule and how to implement it.  She’s been homeschooling for awhile and is sick to death of fighting with her son and math for 4 hours a day!  (No one is winning and I feel her pain). I’ll be happy to help you as well!

 

When a play date turns into a Lesson Plan

Yes. Seriously.

Our co-op met today, but not for any learning, just for some casual fun. Letting all of the boys play survivor and legos, the little girls playing dolls, and the bigger girls just hanging out.

Oh – and the moms just talking about everything and nothing. (Cause we all need some mom time.)

And then one of the boys “C” walks by Barbie. She sees his shirt and it begins. Seriously something hilariously fun that had us laughing for about half an hour. He was wearing one of the many “Zombie Survival” t-shirts out there. Barbie loves campy horror books and tv shows. She was entranced by the “real” Zombie in Miami a while back. So she stops “C” and says, “I love your shirt!” Barbie talks about a picture she saw that had a house surrounded by treadmills to protect it from the zombie apocalypse.  We start laughing and joking about how funny that would be (yes, gruesome I know).  And different things we could do to protect ourselves from the zombie apocalypse.  Then Barbie mentioned about how it would be so fun if school was about zombies.

You now have the perfect storm.

The moms: LB – a science fiction afficianado, LF – an eclectic quiet mom with a hubby who is a slasher film fan, and me – an extremely eclectic mom with a dark bent.

The kids: Barbie (15), BAM! (13), Kissy (12), Dimples (9), Eyes (8), Smarty Pants (7)

The boys:  B , S , C  – they are all around our boys ages – so from 7 – 10 let’s say.

The little girls: C and B – they are toddlers and are distracting and make us laugh at the same time.

The minute Barbie said learning about zombies would be fun, the moms were on fire.  Suggesting different things we could teach while focusing on the Zombie Apocalypse.  After all, the CDC has a website about how to survive one.  There are bible stories about people risen from the dead (Bible class).  There are animals nicknamed zombie ants, and fish, and so much other things (science).  We could learn about how to fight off the zombies (think medieval weaponry – history and if you add in trajectories: physics and trigonometry!!!), how to hide from zombies (camouflage-art?), the zombie legends (literature).  We could even have a zombie obstacle course (PE) to help us train to get away from them! Then LF says that her hubby was watching something about people mixing Cocaine and Ketamine in Puerto Rico and how it makes them act like zombies.  And I start talking about the little piece of the fish used in voodoo.  Yep.  The birth of a co-op class for next year has begun.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, cause it’s fun and silly and homeschool related.  Making learning interesting is part of being a homeschool mom.  We are always on the lookout to teach our kids in new ways.  Our job is to excite them about learning!  Not to teach to the test.  I also wanted to tell you so that you will hold me accountable!!!!  I get lots of great ideas, but unless I have someone staying on me about them, they fall to the wayside.

I will be posting some things about the zombie apocalypse, but you might see it on your local shelves as a unit study! 😉

Wish us luck!  And go find something fun and silly to teach your kids.  It’s worth it.  I promise.

courtesy movtivatedphotos.com
courtesy movtivatedphotos.com

 

 

The Three Sisters

In the Iroquois legend, the Three Sisters are three beautiful wise sisters who live together.  They can not exist one without the other.  The legend is a story to teach the young ones how to plant.  You plant corn, beans, and squash in one mound.  The corn grows straight and tall, the beans wind around the corn, and the squash shade the bottom.  These three sisters thrive together.

It’s a pretty story, isn’t it.  So when we were studying Florida Indians, we decided to plant the Three Sisters in our pallet garden.  They were planted in February.  Only some pallets got all three sisters, some only got two, and some only got one.  It really depended on how many seeds came in the packet.  In fact, right now there is a half used packet of corn and a half used packet of beans on my desk…waiting for me to get more squash.

At first our Three Sisters project was doing very well, but I noticed today that on the pallet that was planted first (Dimples pallet) some of the leaves have started to yellow.  I’m not sure, but it might be a red ant infestation….even with Rudy the Rooster and several doves picking at the insects all over our yard, the ants are still a huge problem.  I’m going to have to go outside and check to see what it is.

Three Sisters This is BAM!’s pallet after one week.  If you look close, you can see a couple of bean plants popping up.

Dimples3siswk2

This is Dimples’ pallet after 2 weeks, he was the first one planted.Kissy3siswk1And this is Kissys’ pallet after 1 week 3 days, she was planted second.

Please forgive the hearts, mustache, and kisses over the pallets.  The kids painted all over them, and of course they painted their names. 😉

Homeschool Science: Making Slime

There are some really fun times homeschooling, and Making Slime had to be one of them!!!!

I got the idea off of Pinterest (of course) and we had a blast!!!!

Oooeey and gooeey and bright – bonus, it’s a chemical reaction!!!  Here’s what you need (get ready, it’s complicated – LOL):  Borax, School glue, food dye, water, stir sticks, and cups.

Making Slime 025                                                                                                       First put some glue in a cup.026 027Now put an equal amount of water and stir it all about. Put some water in a cup with some borax and mix that well.  Add it to your glue mixture – slowly.  Stirring as you go.028 029

Add food dye of your choice and stir.  As you’re stirring, the borax glue mixture will start to solidify into slime!030 031When they’re done, let the kiddos take it outside and play with it for a while!  Just don’t let them put it on your driveway.  It’s sticks and it stains!!!

This is where I got the idea:  http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/07/make-glow-in-dark-slime.html