Weekly Wrap-up: Wait…I Know This Story!

Nacho night at church...our favorite!

Nacho night at church…our favorite!

This weeks title is a quote from Oldest while I was reading about Napoleon. Oldest had just finished reading Genevieve Foster’s marvelous Augusts Caesar’s World. The previous week we had discussed the unofficial First Triumvirate of which Julius Caesar was a member and the official Second Triumvirate. The Roman Republic never recovered from the Second Triumvirate and instead formed into an Empire. Sparkles and Middle Boy are currently learning about Napoleon Bonaparte and the First French Empire. Oldest still likes to listen while I read to the younger ones from The Story of the World. While reading about Napoleon’s coronation with a laurel leaf crown and that he was called First Consul, Oldest startled us by saying, “Wait…I know this story!” Oldest then taught his

Sparkles in sewing class

Sparkles in sewing class

siblings all he knew about the origins of the Roman Empire and why he made his statement. Middle Boy then wondered if the saying about history repeating itself was really true. We then finished up our reading by learning about the Louisiana Purchase. The crew was interested to learn this little spot of land we currently call home was purchased by our country from Napoleon. Littlest then hit me in the face with a stuffed Angry Bird and our history studies were finished for the day…

Over the weekend I enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon painting with the ladies group from church. I invited Mrs. Cuddle-me to the outing and we had a lovely time painting our crosses. I haven’t painted since I was in junior high school and that is truly a shame. I really had an enjoyable time doing something creative. My painting isn’t a grand masterpiece or anything but my family thinks it is beautiful and that is plenty good enough for

my painting projects

my painting projects

me. I should try to do something creative more often…it was really nice letting go of my responsibilities for an afternoon and engrossing myself in something that took all my concentration.

The rest of the week has been rather quiet. Even Littlest has behaved himself…which is really unsettling.  Several times this week he has even asked to do some school work after getting home from preschool!!! I ordered him some fun education activities and games this week and he had a fun time exploring them this afternoon. He informed me today that he would like his own science set and geometrical shapes!  He then told me he would also like to learn all about clocks. Last week in the homeschool we finished up our History of Science study from Beautiful Feet Books. However, before moving onto our next science curriculum I decided to add one last book…Benjamin D. Wiker’s The Mystery of the Periodic Table. We love this book!!! Nearly every chapter has a simple experiment or two and the book is a wonderful introduction to the science and history of Chemistry. Great book and I highly recommend it!

Littlest and sorting game

Littlest and sorting game

I’ve spent most of my spare time deciding on our next academic year’s curriculum…some of it we have already started. Out last book for our new Bible curriculum came in today and we are all excited to begin. We just couldn’t finish the Who Is God? from Apologia. My crew hated it and I decided not to make them finish the book. I’m not saying the series is bad but it just isn’t for us. I kept having this nagging feeling that we should just read the Bible together but I feel so inadequate to teach directly from Scripture. The more quality literature (or living books) we read the harder time we have putting up with dry text books.

Anyway, that is our week. Sometime in the coming week I’ll write-up our curriculum choices for the next academic year.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocailized Homeschoolers

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Weekly Wrap-up: Snow Week

Sparkles and power tool!

Sparkles and power tool!

Last Friday the boys busied themselves with building a rather poor model of The Spirit of St. Louis. Despite the poor quality of the kit we did finally manage to get the little plane to fly. However, every landing turned out to be a cataclysmic crash and the poor plane had to be reassembled. Oldest remarked that he was glad the Wright brothers didn’t have as many terrible landings with their planes. After working on our science labs Sparkles begged to make a cake. She enjoyed getting to use a hand mixer for the first time. She called it a “girly power tool” and asked if she could have her own in pink. As she carefully followed the directions for making her cake I told her a few ways she could make it extra special by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract,  using milk instead of water, adding colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. While I took Littlest to the potty she added all of the extra special ingredients! Her cake was indeed quite flavorful!

potato chips!!!

potato chips!!!

We did not do anything for Valentine’s Day. My husband did bring me a lovely Azalea bush that I’ll plant in the spring (actually…he’ll be the one to plant it). He then made us lunch and his first batch of homemade potato chips. The chips were very tasty! It took him about a month to perfect fried chicken so I’m sure he will soon master the potato chip. His spaghetti, smoked ribs and fried chicken are so good I won’t eat or order anyone else’s. I doubt I’ll be purchasing chips much longer…which is really a good thing. In the mean time the kids and I will enjoy his many potato chip experiments.

Auntie Two and her husband stopped by to deliver Valentine’s to the kids. They were so thrilled with their cards and visit. The older three instructed me to put their valentine’s in their “baby boxes” or keepsake boxes. They happened to stop by during the potato chip experiment and enjoyed a few chips.

Wow!!!

Wow!!!

We awoke to snow on Monday morning. It snowed all morning and into the early afternoon…nearly nine inches!!! We got a couple more inches of snow later in the week and then bitterly cold temperatures. We are expecting freezing rain tomorrow. Yuck! This is not the sort of weather we are accustomed to in Kentucky especially this late in the season! The current weather is such an anomaly that the Harlan Police Department issued an APB for Queen Elsa! No, I’m not kidding.

The kids enjoyed sledding in the snow this week. They stayed motivated and got their school work done quickly each day so they could go sledding after lunch. All of our outside activities were cancelled for the week. We managed to get our school work and some extra projects done since we didn’t have to go anywhere. Littlest

Kindergarten is better than preschool!

Kindergarten is better than preschool!

worked in his Kindergarten workbooks all week since he didn’t have to go to preschool. It was a nice little preview of what teaching three grade levels of school is going to be like. A few challenges need to be worked out. I also plotted the rest of my lessons for this academic year and noticed we are going to finish up earlier than I had planned. I’m not too worried about it. We just need to decide if we want to add some interim coursework or just move on to the next level?

I’ve also spent a few hours this week considering our next year’s courses. We are all very happy with most of the current curriculum and will simply carry on with the next level. We will move on with Christian Light Education (math, language arts, reading and Bible), Beautiful Feet Books (history and includes great

boys with The Spirit of St. Louis

boys with The Spirit of St. Louis

literature and writing assignments as well as geography), The Story of the World (history, geography and writing) and Writing with Skill. I no longer need Writing With Ease as I’ve learned how to fold it into The Story of the World. We will continue with piano and guitar lessons because we love, love, love our teachers and my kids would wither without their music. Music is so important to my crew we have our practice sessions early in the morning. Even Littlest has to have his “compiano time”. I have no idea why he calls it “compiano”.

We are going to start Latin next school term and we will be using Visual Latin. The main reason (other than Mr. Dwane is hilarious!) is that I will not have to be the primary teacher. My Eastern Kentucky accent is awful when trying to teach a foreign language! My horrid little accent seems

our unhappy cat in the snow

our unhappy cat in the snow

to triple when I try to pronounce something foreign. I worked so hard in my younger years to get rid of my accent but it all comes back with foreign language. My husband was highly amused by my accent when we reviewed a Spanish curriculum a couple of years ago when I worked for Mosaic Reviews. My accent was so bad he took over the teaching for the review period! We might even add Mr. Dwane’s vocabulary curriculum since my crew loves studying Latin and Greek root words.

Oldest is begging for Cover Story. He really wants to start this writing curriculum once he finishes Writing with Skill volume One. I already have volume two of Writing with Skill so I am not sure. If I decide to get it for him we will not start it until I’m sure he is ready for such a big project. But maybe I should let his enthusiasm lead the way? I have flip-flopped over this all week.

Some favorite articles this week:

Beautiful Feet Books Blog: Rebecca is referring to another article about the 10 best things we are not doing for our homeschools’. Because of Beautiful Feet Books I read to my kids. My Oldest is crushed when I tell him he has to read a book by himself. I will not give up read aloud time for our entire homeschool years…not ever. I would like to add poetry tea time…think my boys would like it?

Hope By Design: I loved this tongue-in-cheek description of homeschooling methods! I started out classical but embrace more Charlotte Mason methodology every year. I believe my method is…Method? What Method?!

Simple Homeschool: Curriculum is life! I’m on my way to arriving. I wanted to jump up and say “Amen!” but was afraid my kids might think I had gone daft.

Creekside Learning: I have a “reluctant reader”. This article totally shifted my viewpoint! I no longer have a reluctant reader…I just need to honor who he is..where he is…right now.

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: What can I say? When I grow up to be the best homeschool mom I can be I want to be just like Kris of Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Steam Powered Classroom: I have to quote her here because she says it best, “If we wish to promote innovation and new discoveries, as educators we must devote ourselves to cultivating quiet spaces and unhurried stretches of time for our learners. We must squelch our impatience and instead applaud childhood tendencies to dawdle.” This has been on my heart the past few months. I am the guardian of my crew’s time and I really believe they need time to play and explore and not have every moment of their time taken up by activities, tv, and video games.

One Man and His Mustang: I’m obsessed with the progress of his car!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Apples and Bonding Moments

 

apple fritters

apple fritters

Last Friday we enjoyed a visit from my sweet friend and her two Littles (you can meet Yoga Mom and crew here.) We managed to swap a few tales and enjoy each other’s fellowship between all the children underfoot. Middle Boy was so overwhelmed by all the company her built himself a fort and threw stuffed animals at anyone who got too close. Which eventually turned into a “storm the castle” type game. I could be wrong but I’m fairly certain that boy is a bit of an introvert.

apples and more apples

apples and more apples

I am supposed to be Yoga Mom’s accountability partner for exercising and all things healthy…but I wasn’t in the mood for carrots and celery. So I made her some fresh apple fritters and a homemade batch of apple butter. That makes me more of a culpable partner this week…Another friend also stopped by to drop her daughter off for a sleepover. Sparkles had been counting down the days for hosting her first sleepover and was over the moon. The girls decided to paint my toe-nails that evening a lovely hot pink, topped with a layer of matching glitter and accented with black polka-dots. Lovely…

Middle Boy and Sparkles

Middle Boy and Sparkles

In the mail I received my newest review assignment, Their Name Is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold. I wish I had read this book years ago!!! This book resonates with my soul and the kind of mother and advocate for my children I want to be. I’ve already started to implement some of what I’ve learned in the book and am looking forward to giving you my review. I am also excited about another book by a friend and mentor of mine that will be published soon. I hope to share more about it with you soon!

Oldest and Mustang at classic car drive-in night

Oldest and Mustang at classic car drive-in night

My husband and Oldest enjoyed and evening out together at the local drive-in. They took the old Mustang for a classic car night at the movies and watched American Graffiti. The two of them have been listening to the soundtrack together this year while traveling to Sharp Shooters practice. Oldest liked the movie and sang along with several of the songs. I received several text updates about their evening out. My favorite: “This is about as good as it gets for me as a parent…” Happy tears! Sometimes I get the feeling these are the best years…right now.

Oldest and Littlest

Oldest and Littlest

I am beginning to notice positive changes in our children’s relationships with one another. Oldest is gentler with his siblings and often volunteers to help me with Littlest. Sometimes Sparkles will perform a small act of service for her brothers or even me. Middle Boy and Oldest are really bonding together…which is a vast improvement from when they just tolerated each other. They all still bicker with each other a bit but there isn’t nearly as much fighting as their used to be. I’ve read about this phenomenon in homeschooling books. Totally awesome to witness this transformation happen among my own children.

Middle boy asleep in his fort

Middle boy asleep in his fort

We are having a slow week in the homeschool…really slow. Some days even I couldn’t focus! I ended up sending everyone outside to play a few times. Even though I had a ton (slight exaggeration…just a few bushels) of apples to process I went outside too. I snapped a few pictures of the kids playing together. We happened to be outside as the monarchs passed through on their long journey south…the first hint of winter. Oldest finished up his paper on ancient Egypt today and several of his projects. He built Ranofer’s home with the Minecraft game from “The Golden Goblet” and made a cookie map of the Nile valley area. Tomorrow he will do an art project with his name in Hieroglyphics. Next week he will move on to ancient Greece. Middle Boy fell asleep in his fort this week while working on his math. He and Sparkles fell in the floor laughing while reading about the plague in 1600’s London (Okay, on the surface that sounds really bad). The text (The Story of the World Vol. 3) describes someone going through town with a cart saying, “Bring out your dead.” So, all we could think of was the opening scene of Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie. For the rest of the day they sang songs of Sir Robin and were the Knights who say “Nee”. Oh joy.

Another blessed week.

 

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: The Bittersweet Last

no more booster seat

no more booster seat

Motherhood is full of wonderful moments…life-changing beautiful moments. Nothing compares to holding your child for the first time, the first tentative smile, first steps and words. Motherhood is a privileged witness to triumphant moments from the first precious moments of life…but there is a sharper side as well. Over the years I’ve come to treasure those wonderful firsts for each of my children because, on the other side of those firsts are lasts. I didn’t pay much attention to the lasts with my children in the early years of motherhood. Maybe I was too exhausted. Some of those lasts moments slip by without notice…the last time they drank from a sippy cup or quit sneaking into bed with us during the night. I’m more watchful of last moments now. They are quiet reminders of impending

curb side service

curb side service

independence. On Saturday Oldest rode in his car seat for the last time. We didn’t realize it until we cleaned up the van the next day. I expected him to still need his booster seat when testing him without it…but he did not. I snapped a picture of his grown up moment. I cried…he’s a little less boy and a little more grown.

The ice-cream truck (a van actually) came up to our drive-way this weekend. They know where we live now!! Today, I showed the kids they could get a whole box of fudge pops for the price of just one from the truck. They were not as impressed as I had hoped.

birthday party friends

birthday party friends

This week we attended a birthday party for a sweet little friend. She didn’t want any presents for her sixth birthday…just quarters to donate to a children’s charity. I enjoyed visiting with homeschool families I hadn’t met before and dear friends I hadn’t seen in ages. Oldest decided to play with the birthday girl’s little brother (the same age as Littlest) so her mom “could host the party without worrying about him”. He took on the task without anyone asking and I decided not to point out that the little fella’s dad was also doing the same…

ice-cream treats

ice-cream treats

This week is the end of our first (of five) term of the 2014-15 school year! We are also a few days ahead of schedule in all of our subjects…except math. We will not be on grade level in math until January. The kids wanted to celebrate completing their first term with ice cream after school is finished for the day. They also want to order a pizza but they haven’t talked me into it yet.

Littlest

Littlest

Today Littlest (who is only three) informed me that 7-4=3. I was a bit shocked he could tell that but he does hear math drills everyday. I asked him if he could tell me 7-3. He told me I was big enough to know the answer and didn’t have to tell me. Then he skipped off laughing like a little mad man. I’m pretty sure we can just skip Kindergarten and I’m beginning to worry he’ll get kicked out of pre-school…

DSC05158 (640x480)History and science lessons ended up in the same time period this week for the middle two. Oldest is still studying ancient Egypt for history but he reads their history text (Story of the world vol. 3) on his own time. This week we (I never heard of it either) are learning about the Thirty Year’s War and Blaise Paschal. Christianity is a central them in both narratives. The kids are struggling to understand the animosity between Catholicism and Protestantism. They want a clear good guy and bad guy…and there isn’t one. I added the book “A Piece of the Mountain” about Blaise Paschal to our

Sparkles

Sparkles

science study because I wanted the kids to be aware that science and religion do not have to oppose one another. Paschal accepted Christ as an adult and the book covers his struggles with faith as well as his scientific brilliance. So far it is their favorite book in our science studies. This weekend they will finish their labs on Galileo with their dad (so happy he does the labs with the crew) and then move on to Sir Isaac Newton next week.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Curriculum Edition

fun with friends

fun with friends

For a July in Kentucky we’ve enjoyed some near perfect weather…though we could do with a bit of rain. Despite it being our second week of school we’ve spent some time outside this week enjoying the mild weather and friends. So, naturally, we are not exactly on schedule. This time last year I would have been flipping out over the schedule. Not now though. I’ve learned to relax over the almighty schedule (sort of). Actually, I (hopefully) worked out a way to keep us on track by making allowances in the schedule for unexpected (and planned) interruptions. This year I am only planning for a

Sparkles and friend...they are nonconformist in their table usage

Sparkles and friend…they are nonconformist in their table usage

four-day school week with one light work day (usually Friday) reserved for enrichment projects, outings, or getting caught up.

Today, after a half day of school we joined some friends at the playground for birthday cupcakes and fun. We’ve also went swimming twice this week! Oldest has also gone blackberry picking a couple of times this week but the harvest is starting to slow without any rain. Blackberry season is about over.

"Catch me, Big E!"

“Catch me, Big E!”

On a sad note, Oldest learned this week his guitar teacher is moving away. His last lesson will be this coming Wednesday. My poor boy is truly heartbroken. I’m sad for my son and grateful for the time and mentoring his teacher invested in him.

Here are our curriculum choices for the 2014-15 year…

Group Subjects:

my convention purchases...note the pile of receipts in the corner!!!

my convention purchases…note the pile of receipts in the corner!!!

Music Appreciation from Zeezok Publishing. Wow! We are loving this curriculum. The kids especially enjoy the lapbooks and the music CD’s. This week we made German brown bread and started an oxidation experiment while learning about Bach.

Science: This year we are working through A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books. We’ve only completed the first few lessons but I’ve already caught a couple of the kids looking through the books. Right now we are learning about Archimedes and will work through some buoyance and water displacement experiments tomorrow. This year will also be the first time they will keep proper scientific journals and will learn about the scientific method by performing the steps. To this study I added: Thames and Kosmos’s Milestones in Science kit, Isaac Newton by J. H. Tiner, A Piece of the Mountain by J. MacPherson, The Mystery of the Periodic Table by B. D. Walker, and Michael Faraday by C. Ludwig. Once a week we are watching the BBC six-week series called The Story of Science (on YouTube). I also found a program about Tesla on Netflix and am looking for a few other shows to add.

Bible: Right now we are working our way through Christian Light Education’s Bible 400. This is a continuation of the Gospels from last year. We’ll finish up by Christmas and will then begin Apologia’s Who Is God course and notebooking journals (I won this set on a blog giveaway last year!).

Spelling: The crew is using level 3 of the new SpellingYouSee curriculum. Oldest is a fantastic reader but his spelling is terrible. They all love the curriculum and never complain about spelling work anymore. I’ll love it if I see progress!

Art: We still have several Bible Stories DVD’s to work through from last year and they have ceramics from Art In History that ties in with their History studies. We are not doing much with art this year since we are working through music appreciation. Next year we will have a proper art curriculum.

Music: My crew will continue piano lessons with the fabulous Mrs. Melody!!!

Math: We will be working through the first four books of Life of Fred.

Geography: We did not finish our geography study from Beautiful Feet Books over the summer break (life got kinda busy) so we will work through the rest of it on Friday’s until finished. We should be done before Christmas break.

Curriculum for third grade:

working oh history notebooks

working on history notebooks

History and Writing: The Story of the World Volume 3.   Sparkles and Middle Boy are using notebooks for keeping their maps and coloring images. I reduced the size of the images to fit in their notebooks. For writing I just combined the techniques from Writing With Ease 3 into their history work. Right now they are narrating (they dictate their narrations to me) one section of the chapter each week. After our second term they will begin narrating all of the sections in the chapter each week. During our last two terms I will transition them to writing their own narrations into the notebook. They also have to read through some history encyclopedias and write down interesting facts.

Math, Language Arts and Reading are all from Christian Light Education. The kids love these workbooks. We switched to their math over the summer. I just wasn’t happy with MathUSee. It just wasn’t challenging enough for them. I had to drop everyone a grade level in their math but they should be caught up by Christmas time. By the end of the school year they will have completed two years worth of math! They will also be keeping reading response journals that I mentioned two weeks ago.

Curriculum for fifth grade:

working on ancient history

working on ancient history

History: Oldest is using the Intermediate Ancients guide from Beautiful Feet Books. He absolutely loves this study but it is currently kicking his behind! He is a lesson behind at the moment. He isn’t crazy about the Streams of Civilization history book and chose to add The Story of the World to his reading schedule. I also tracked down every extra book mentioned in the guide that I could find. I plan to get the Drive Thru History DVD’s on ancient history to go with this study and watch some old movies like Ben Hur. He is also starting a timeline this year and is using the beautiful book from Homeschool in the Woods.

Writing: He is working through the first level of Writing With Skill by Susan Wise Bauer. Writing is his least favorite subject and I can tell after these first two weeks that I am going to have to really work with him. I learned at the convention that some consider this book a bit too tough for fifth grade and to only expect him to get through half of the text. Well, I didn’t tell Oldest that or he would use it as an excuse to slack off. I know I will need to coach and push him through the work. He did flip through the book and learn that if he completes the course he can receive a signed certificate from Dr. Bauer. For some reason Oldest really wants that certificate…I call it motivation!

Language Arts, Reading, and Math: All of these subjects are from Christian Light Education.

Pre-Logic: Building Thinking Skills from The Critical Thinking Co. This book was recommended in The Well Trained Mind. He thinks it is fun.

Typing: He is using Typing Master Typing Tutor. I found it on Amazon.

I think that is everything…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Spring Dreams and Turkey Dinner

Littlest examining the daffodils

Littlest examining the daffodils

Warm spring-like weather arrived this week beckoning us to wander outside, ride bikes, and search for emerging blooms. Once again, due to nice weather and a few other interruptions our week did not go as planned. Not really a big deal…we’ve only got about four weeks left of school work to finish up for our academic year.

I pulled out my flip-flops on Sunday. It was fifty degrees and warm enough in my opinion. Several people at church questioned my choice of footwear. Snow was still on the ground but it was fifty degrees and that is warm enough for flip-flops. I simply refuse to acknowledge winter’s presence. I’m tired of wearing shoes and am looking forward to barefoot weather. I think a few of my Sunday School classmates question my sanity.

with my dear friend

with my dear friend

On Tuesday I got a call from my sweet friend (and homeschooling mentor). She and her youngest spend a good part of the day with us. Normally, we homeschooling moms try not to call or visit each other during “school” hours. So when she asked to come over I knew she needed a friend. We cancelled school for the day and spent our day with friends. Anytime someone needs to talk it usually isn’t good and this was no exception. She moved to the top of my prayer request list by the end of the afternoon. If you are the praying sort please pray for my friend…she needs prayers.

Wednesday the colder temperatures returned and I refused to abandon my flip-flops…confirming my tentative hold on reality. Thursday the weather was warm enough for the kids to ride their bikes and have their first crashes of the season. Sparkles skinned her arm up when she collided with Oldest. Middle Boy gave me visions of the ER room when he dumped his bike and completed a spectacular flip landing on his side. He quickly jumped up and declared the moment “Awesome!” I would not be surprised if he decided on some sort of life threatening career someday…

I’ve spent my little free time this week either planning for the upcoming school year or researching speakers for the homeschool convention in Cincinnati. I’ve never been to a convention before and most likely will not attend again for a few years. I’ve already got a good idea of the vendors to visit and have a price list made up. Now I am just working out which speakers to attend. I will definitely see Susan Wise Bauer but I am not sure who else to see yet. In order to help figure out who to listen to I decided to cross out all of the political speakers. My main purpose for going to the convention is to learn to be a better teacher and parent. I then marked out anyone talking about creation and evolution (I just can’t listen to these arguments anymore). Surprisingly, once I marked these two categories out there wasn’t an overwhelming number of session descriptions to read through.

enjoying the warm weather

enjoying the warm weather

Our education plans are coming together for the year. Working out a skeleton plan for the logic (5th-8th) and rhetoric (9th-12th) years helped to solidify the plans for the next academic year. (Tonia at The Sunny Patch here’s my plans for the logic stage…subject to change.) My current plans are:

Fifth grade: We will return to ancient history and use Beautiful Feet Books intermediate collection. When we return to ancient history in the rhetoric years I will use Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World as our spine book (that means main history textbook for my many non-homeschool readers). Oldest will also assemble his own timeline and keep a narrative notebook and draw out his own maps. My middle two will follow along with The Story of the World: Ancient Times (also by Susan Wise Bauer) and will keep a simple written narration. Our art projects will parallel our history studies and we will do a few projects from Art in History.

Our language arts, reading and Bible curriculum will continue with Christian Light Education. Math will continue with MathUSee and Math Mammoth. I really, really wish we had went with Christian Light Education for our math curriculum but the kids love MathUSee and since they are doing well I see no reason to change. We’ll also continue with our current writing curriculum also from Susan Wise Bauer (now you know why I plan to see her at the convention!). The middle two will continue with Writing with Ease and the oldest is moving up to Writing With Skill.

Our science will change for this year. I’ve never been able to find a science that I am happy with. We’ve used REAL Science Odyssey and found it too easy. Our past two books from Apologia have been really good. This year, for a change of pace, we are going to use Beautiful Feet Books: History of Science. I’ve added several scientists to the study and the Thames and Kosmos’ Milestones in Science experiment kit. I’ve started collecting the books for this study and several times have already caught the kids reading the books. We are all excited about this study.

I also plan to use Zeezok’s Music Appreciation set this year. I’ve read many good reviews and I think my crew will really enjoy the study and hopefully deepen their enjoyment of their current music studies.

Penmanship and spelling continue to be a struggle for some of my crew. I am considering several penmanship books and plan to make a final decision at the convention. Oldest is the only one struggling with spelling. We discovered through the IOWA tests he has gaps in his early phonics education (thanks to you government schools!) Oldest is begging for the new spelling curriculum from the MathUSee company. I really wanted to go with Sequential Spelling but since he is begging for this other program…how can I say no.

Since we will finish up our current studies in a few weeks we will study geography and weather science until our regular year starts up in July. I plan to switch to a four-day school week next year so we do not have this large three month gap between the academic years. My husband is going to help us build a weather station so we can study forecasting for the next year. I think that will be a fun and informative year long project.

Today, we are looking forward to a yummy turkey dinner at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s home. Her turkeys are rude and I am looking forward to feasting on one of them!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap-up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Getting Back to Normal and Curriculum Choices

first day of school

first day of school

Most schools are winding down for the year and getting ready for a break. After some discussion with my husband we decided to embark on year round schooling. This week we finished up our first week of the 2013-14 school year. Life has been hectic and chaotic for the past several weeks and we needed the normalcy of our school days back. The situation here at home has been so full of anxiety that I am sore from the tension. My back, neck and shoulder muscles hurt…As hard as this whole experience has been with my brother I am so grateful for the security I have in my husband. Security may seem a strange word choice but in my husband I have someone who loves me and he strengthens me to endure and grow from hard realities. He makes me a better person because he loves me…I am not sure that I can explain any better…

some of our curriculum choices

some of our curriculum choices

Anyway, we are back to school and settling down into our normal family routine. Littlest is almost potty trained and does quite well when we are home. Once he is well-trained then we will be looking for a good dog. I am considering a German Shepherd…a nice protective dog. We had a promotion party a couple of weeks ago. I let the kids have double their normal game time…which they loved! We also watched a movie and had popcorn and root beer floats. They had a really fun day and I posted their report cards on the refrigerator.

Biggest-4th Grade: Delta from MathUSee, Language Arts 4 and Reading 4 from Christian Light Education, Writing With Ease Level 4 from Peace Hill Press, Prima Latina and Famous Men of Roam from Memoria Press. For literature he will study through Rolf and the Viking Bow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chronicles of Narnia, Black Ships Before Troy and The Hobbit.

Sparkles and JR 2nd Grade: Beta from MathUSee, Language Arts 2 and Reading 2 from Christian Light Education and Writing With Ease Level 2 from Peace Hill Press. Sparkles is also continuing with Spanish For You.

Group Studies: We will continue with The Story of the World Volume 2 from Peace Hill Press as well as Botany and Astronomy from Apologia. We are starting American history with Early American History from Beautiful Feet. For Christian Studies I chose Telling God’s Story from Olive Branch Books. I am very happy that I found Telling God’s Story since it is focused on Jesus for the early elementary years. When Christmas comes around we will continue with our study of Christmas Around the World.

Littlest: He is beginning pre-reading skills and will gradually go through the Phonics Museum from Veritas Press. He loves his “school box”.

Well…I think that is everything…

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: The Weekly Wrap Up. I thought it might be fun to join this wrap-up this year. I really enjoyed going through everyone’s posts last year and getting fun ideas for my little scholars.