Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer, curriculum, co-op and more!

I've been feeling guilty over our lack of Summer activities.  But, Jeremy reminds me of all the things the kids do each and every day. He then reminds me of how we stayed home as kids all Summer by ourselves watching MTV. That reminder makes me feel so much better! Actually, when I was a kid I was in daycare all Summer long. My kids are doing just fine and so am I!  We've been swimming, doing puzzles, coloring, baking, playing wii, sleeping in, reading and doing some light Math.  On the weekends we have done lots with Daddy like going to see Toy Story 3 and eating out at our favorite restaurants and of course, SWIMMING.

Josiah is reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn fifteen minutes a day (we set the timer) and every other day I give him a Math drill sheet to ensure brain function for the upcoming School year!  I keep waiting for him to ask if he can keep reading after the timer goes off but so far he is a typical busy boy who would rather draw action figures.  This boy loves to draw!

Now on to some very exciting news! Starting in September we will be a part of a Co-op for Homeschoolers.  There isn't anything for Kindergartners so Ava Beth will have to wait until next year but my 2nd grader has lots of options.  It works out perfect because Ava Beth will be in dance Wednesday afternoons at the same dance academy she's been at since she was three and the Co-op is on the same day! So Wednesdays we will get all our activities and errands in! Josiah is going to be in P.E. and Lego Fungeneering.  We are really excited about this and the Lego class is a popular one.  It is perfect for my little Engineer. We have said from the time he was two years old that he was an engineer.  If you knew him, you would agree.

Okay, so here's my list of curriculum. My style the past two years has been textbook/worksheet driven and I have struggled with it a lot.  We Homeschool so we can do the exact opposite yet I have fallen into the "busy work" trap.  But this year, there will be CHANGE!  Significant change!  I think I heard my friend Kim refer to it as Curriculum/Charlotte Mason eclectic style.  The subjects I am most excited about is History, Science, Art, Music and Bible.  I cannot wait to begin this Homeschooling year!

For anyone reading this who will be doing Kindergarten next year for the first time as a Homeschooler, it is PERFECTLY fine to use ONE type of Curriculum.  I did it with Josiah in Kindergarten with A Beka and it was fine.  I am just becoming more of a Curriculum junkie and I want to learn about each and every one. I actually get excited about looking at all of them.  My friends, Kim and Wendy, have discipled me through this process and I owe my knowledge to them.

Here's my Curriculum Choices this year!

Ezekiel- Pre-School ( and I do mean Pre! He is three years old)
Lots of coloring, play doh and puzzles
LeapFrog DVD 's
I will be alternating activity boxes for him CONSTANTLY because he will be all over us!

Ava Beth- Kindergarten
Math- Alpha Omega Horizons
Reading- Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons (We are already working on this)
Handwriting- A Beka
Phonics- A Beka
Art- Josiah's Curriculum.
Bible- She will be learning with Josiah's curriculum but I have also chosen this.
Music-Josiah's curriculum

( I don't have to spend a lot on her because I have so much on hand that I used with Josiah.)

Josiah's curriculum is going to draw her in a lot.  This is what is so great about being the second child to begin Homeschooling.  It is so different and you have such a different teacher! :)  With Josiah I was obsessed with making sure our day looked like a "Public School" Day because that was all I knew.  I was worried that I did not have Science or History curriculum.  So I did a study on Weather and decided we would study The American Flag and National Monuments. We did do a fun study on The American Flag and I was adamant on him knowing the Pledge, Texas Pledge and Bible pledge that I even painted canvases so he could salute the flags each day as he said the pledge. Looking back, that was a fun thing to do and even though we do not say the pledges every single day, we do them often.  I think the Flags and pledges are a perfect Kindergarten learning activity.

I laugh now because I know how the School year went.  It did not go according to all of my "Beginning of the year" plans but it was perfect.  He became STRONG in math and reading!! That is what I want out of kindergarten.  STRONG reading and math skills are a MUST! Going into Kinder this year I am much more relaxed.  We will work on memorizing the names of months, our address, phone numbers, telling time, etc.  Josiah knew his address and phone number as soon as he was talking because he was the first born and I was dead set on making him smart.  There was nothing wrong with that, but now I am more relaxed and have realized that allowing kids to be kids is much more important.  Our day will NEVER look like a Public School day and I don't want it to.  The only reason I mention public school is because I found myself during my first year of Homeschool constantly comparing.  Not healthy. They are as different as night and day.  As they should be!  And with a newborn baby coming, we will all have to be flexible.

Also if you are a Kindergarten Mom wanting more than reading, math and phonics then www.enchantedlearning.com is a great website.  I use it a lot and there are countless activities and worksheets you can print out.  We studied the goldfish in kinder and I found a print out on their website that gave the anatomy of the goldfish.  Then there was a print out for him to label the anatomy after learning. We had just purchased a goldfish (he still lives) and it was a fun way to fit in a Science project.  That's why Kinder is so fun! You get to be creative and do whatever your child shows interest in.  Actually that is how every single grade level should be!

Oh and I am ordering this! This will be great for all the kids and kids to come! Love it!

Josiah- 2nd Grade
Math- Alpha Omega Horizons
Spelling-Rod and Staff
Vocabulary- I will be pulling words from the books we are reading.  I love vocab and so does Josiah. Also I found this website.
Grammar- Rod and Staff
Reading- Pathway Readers
Bible - My Father's World (MFW)
History- MFW
Science- MFW
Art- MFW
Music- MFW
PE- Co-op
Lego Fungeneering- Co-op

(Cursive-I will add on in the middle of the year. Not something I am going to spend tons of time on this year)

I am thrilled about every single choice!  I have put so much time and prayer into these choices that I can't help but to be excited!  I spoke to the President of the Co-op this morning and listening to her tell me what to expect and the family nights that come with this Co-op and all the great benefits have me praising God.  If you have followed my Homeschool journey at all or you happen to be one of my Homeschooling friends (you all live in other states) then you know how lonely I have been.  You know how long I have prayed for something like this.  God has been so good and I am so thankful for the prayers He is answering for my family.

It's crazy how last year my hobbies were all about ME and now my hobbies are Homeschool stuff.  I love what God has done!!

There are TONS of you have been doing this much longer than me so I pray that what I have written today comes across humble. I have learned from MANY of you.  I continue to learn.  But this year I just feel like I am finally finding out who I am as a Homeschooler and I am feeling more confident.  It is a wonderful gift that has come with the past two years.  Let me know if I can help any of you who are starting out.  I have been in your shoes and I know how overwhelming it can be.  We have all been there!! We are all in this together and can learn so much from one another.  The Homeschooling Community has been the most amazing group of women I have ever met.  It is an incredible calling from the Lord and I love being a part of it!


Stacey said...

I love your last paragraph.... we are all in this together. I learn from you every single time I come over here. Thanks for sharing in detail what you are doing.
I was just praying about a co-op and how I would really like to do something like that here.
Emma is in 2nd grade too! Can you believe it!?! Our kiddos are getting so big!

Kelly Ann said...

Loved reading what your year will look like! The co-op sounds AMAZING and I know Josiah will LOVE the Lego class!

Kate said...

i finished Rod and Staff 2 with bryce this year and it was a perfect match. plus the pathway readers and the workbooks - they match up pretty well with the a beka phonics so it was great!

Wendy said...

So excited for your new year!