Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeschool Planning Part 3

I am still working!  But I needed a break, so I will share a few more ideas.

1.  Don't try to plan a year's worth of school for 5 children in 5 days.  Stressful!

2.  I use Apologia science courses for my children beginning with General Science in the 7th grade.  Well, actually, I sometimes use their elementary science books like Botany or Astronomy, but once they are in 7th grade we follow this schedule:

  • 7th--General Science
  • 8th--Physical Science
  • 9th--Biology
  • 10th--Biology II (The Human Body, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made).  Olivia is doing this course as an 11th grader, and she did Chemistry last year, but I am switching it around for the rest of the children.  Olivia is my guinea pig, you know!
  • 11th--Chemistry
  • 12th--Physics
3.  I go to for all kinds of resources for these Apologia science courses.  The main thing I use are the PDF files for daily lesson plans.  Someone has taken the time to divide the books into daily reading assignments.  All you have to do is print them out and give them to your child to follow.  They are free!  The child just follows along and checks off each day's assignment as he completes it.  But, no one has made one for Biology II.  Not that I could find!  So, today I spent almost 2 hours making one.  

4.  I provide each of my science students with either a binder with 3 sections (for Clay) or a spiral notebook with 3 sections (Olivia and Julie) to use along with their science textbook.  Section 1 is for writing the vocabulary words and their definitions.  Section 2 is for answering the Own Your Own questions (usually one or two questions per day), and Section 3 is for answering the Study Guide questions (one at the end of each chapter).

5.  I allow 2 school days for the children to complete the study guides, meet with me and go over the answers, and then study for the test.  I also look over the test while we are meeting, and I make sure they write down any pertinent information that may not be on the study guide.  Also, I tell them which vocabulary words will be on the test--words that they have to write the full definition for.  But something new that I may to do this year is to also make an additional page for each test with ALL of the vocabulary words in a match-the-word-with-definition format.

6.  I printed out labeled black and white maps of the world for the children to mark the places we read about in our history/geography studies.  In the past we have just located the spots on our globe, and we did that every day, but I wanted something more permanent.  Sonlight provides maps for each book you read, and the locations are marked, but I felt like that was too many maps to copy for each child to use.  Sonlight also suggests that you mark the locations on a large markable wall map, but I don't want a markable wall map in my den, and that is where we read all of the books.  I did hang one of those maps in my schoolroom closet (the only place I had wall space last year), but we never went down there to mark the map.  So, I made each child their own little set of maps that I am keeping in either a binder (Leah and Clay) or a folder (Julie and Olivia).  I am guessing that I printed about 10-15 maps--the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.  Each day, as we read about a certain location, they will use colored pencils, crayons, or markers (whichever they prefer) to mark their map.  I hope it works as well as I think it will!

6.  I have assigned Clay (7th grade) daily Bible readings.  Sonlight lists daily Bible readings at  the top of each day in the IGs.  These are intended to be read aloud by the parent, but since we read the Bible together anyway as part of our daily Bible lesson/study, I am going to use Sonlight's daily assignment for Clay's personal Bible reading.  He can simply check off the square after he completes the daily reading.  I also am providing him with a spiral notebook (in his color) to write down two things each day after he reads.  I am really not intending for this to be "school work".  He can read his Bible first thing in the morning, in bed at night, in the afternoon--whenever he wants.  He and I both just needed some sort of plan and accountability to get him in the habit of daily personal Bible reading.

That's all for now!  I need to get back to work.  The next thing on my list is Home Economics planning.  I am using a variety of resources to put together a custom-made course.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two Big Milestones!

1.  Sam lost his first tooth last night!  My baby!  I cannot believe he is old enough to lose teeth!

2.  Both Sam and Leah are riding their bikes without training wheels!
Several months ago they asked Jimmy to take off their training wheels. He did, and after a day or two of tears and frustration, they wanted the training wheels put back on.

For the last few months, neither of them have ridden bikes that much. They have just been busy with other things.

Yesterday, Sam decided to get a bigger bike (Clay's old one), one without training wheels, out of the shed and try to ride it.  Success!  Just like that --he could ride a two-wheeler.  Leah found out about it and she went to the shed to retrieve Julie's old bike.  It fit her, and guess what?  Without much effort or trauma, she can ride too!  Wow!

So now, my little children are growing up right before my eyes!  I still can't believe that I will actually be doing school with Sam in just one short week.  He is still a baby!

They are both so proud!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homeschool Planning Part 2

This is what my schoolroom has looked like for several days now.

I should have taken pictures of the floor, but you might have fainted!  Most of the time I am in here working, I have two little helpers named Leah and Sam.  They are cutting, glueing, sticking stickers, coloring maps (my mess-ups while printing), playing with cubes, painting, beading, jumping, and on and on!  I am just working around them!

I have completely finished my planning and organizing the entire school year for Sam, Leah, and Clay.  Three down, two to go!  Hopefully soon I am going to share some of my plans and work for Clay (entering 7th grade).  I am starting with him, because early this morning while Lynn and I were running our long run (first one in over 2 weeks!), she expressed disappointment that I had not blogged yet in great detail Clay's plans!  She has a son the same age and needed inspiration.  Ha!  So, I am beginning with Clay.  Well, first some general information and then on to Clay.

  • I made some changes to my school organization.  Some of my methods aren't working so well anymore, and I have seen some cool new ideas on blogs and in person recently.
  • I let each child choose a color and I bought them all new Better Binders from Staples in their chosen color.  I also bought spiral notebooks, folders, and colored paper (I actually only bought a couple of new colors) in their chosen color.  I used coupons and sales to buy the binders, and I got them for under $6 each, tax included.  They are $9.49 + tax full price.
  • Then I decided that I was not going to put a new binder in each child's work bucket this year.  The work bucket is just an 18 qt. dishpan.  I bought mine six or seven years ago, and some of them are beginning to crack and the handle part is breaking off.  After looking all over creation, I found 5 (not all in the same color!) at Family Dollar.  Anyway, as I have been cleaning out last year's work buckets, I discovered that none of the children were filing their papers in their 3 ring binder like I intended for them to do.  There were final copies of compositions wadded up in the bottom, all dog-eared.  Many tests and compositions were stuck in the inside pocket of the binder--not neatly inserted into the binder behind the proper tab.  So....
  • I am using my color coordinated binders for other things, and I am making an area on my desk in the schoolroom for them to turn in finished papers and tests.  This way the papers will stay looking nice and neat!
  • The children still have binders, just not one huge binder for every thing.  Sam, Leah, and Clay each have a Sonlight binder in their Sonlight basket that stays in the den.  This basket includes the binder which holds the IG (Instructor's Guide), their timeline stickers, their maps and narration binder, and the current books we are reading.  I keep this basket in our den, because that is where we do our reading together.

These two pictures above are of Clay's Sonlight basket.

Which leads me to the next great new idea...

  • Bookmarks!  In each child's color!  These are just pieces of paper laminated and then cut into eleven 1" strips.  I made each child 22 bookmarks.  These are to mark the current place in our Sonlight books, my teacher's guides for their math books (where the answers are!), their place in their various workbooks, and anything else they need to mark. You can see Clay's bookmarks sticking out of his books in the picture above.
  • I put the Language Arts pages from the Sonlight cores into a separate binder that I am keeping in the schoolroom.  We do all of our seatwork downstairs in our schoolroom, and last year I made many trips up and down my stairs to get the Sonlight binder....if I was doing Language Arts with the children, the binder was left in the den.  When we got ready to read aloud, the binder was still down in the schoolroom.  So, two separate binders!  In each child's color. 
  • Last year I sorted out the history, readers, and read aloud study guides and put them behind each week's tab.  Big mistake.  I did NOT like moving those study guides from week to week.  So this year I just left them all in the back of the Sonlight binder that stays in the den.  But to help me know where to turn to....

  •  I am putting these little sticky notes on the edges of the pages.  Now those will be easy to move or replace when we begin a new book!
  • One more change I am making for our new school year is the daily work checklist.  For years I have been printing these out a month or two at a time.  They were in table format with the dates, subjects or assignments, and squares to check off when the work was completed.  I have printed pages and pages of these!  I learned this great idea from Erin--a laminated checklist that can be marked on and washed off week after week.  What a super idea!
I need to get back to work now!  I will share more ideas and plans tomorrow, and I will have details of Clay's 7th grade plans ready to go!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homeschool Planning Part 1

I began my 2011-2012 planning session last Friday.  I started with Sam's plans, and I am working my way up to the oldest child.  I am taking pictures along the way, so when I get a chance, I will share details of my planning sessions.  I have completed Sam's and Leah's plans, and I am halfway through Clay's plans.  The two older girls will take me a little bit longer than the others, because I am somewhat making my own home economics course for them.  I also plan to blog about that when I finish it.

Today will be another planning day, and I hope that by tomorrow afternoon or Thursday at the latest, I will be through with the year's planning.  Then I plan to give my school room a deep cleaning.

If I have time before school resumes August 3, I would like to give my house one more good cleaning too.

I better get to work!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our 4th of July Celebration

Well, I am trying to catch up with July's blogging!  

We visited Jimmy's family on the Saturday before the 4th of July.  This was just one day after we arrived home from our week long Rustic Youth Camp.  We enjoyed an afternoon of grilled out hamburgers and hotdogs, delicious dips and desserts, and fun family fellowship!

Me, Megan, Granmomma, Aunt Julie and Jenny

 Granmomma, Aunt Julie, and Jenny

At 7:00 AM on the morning of the 4th, Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay all ran the Tupelo Running Club's Annual Green St. Mile.  It is a one mile race run every July 4th on Green Street.  I had planned on Leah, Sam and I all running too, but they were both suffering from swimmer's ear and were running fever.  So we stayed home!

They all won a trophy!

I spent the morning cooking for our late afternoon guests:  The Doles Family (Barbara, Scott, their college-age son, Jonathan, their daughter Carrie Ann and her husband Ray) and our friend Stephen.  We enjoyed a meal of grilled chicken, corn on the cob, green salad, baked beans, homemade bread, banana pudding, and homemade vanilla ice cream.  

After eating we played games.  We had two different board games going on at our kitchen table:  Rummikub and Bible Trivial Pursuit.  Fun!  Much laughter!

After the board games, we moved to our den for some Wii karaoke.  More fun!  Much more laughter!

Here are some photo highlights of the evening.
 Carrie Ann and Leah playing Uno

 Bible Trivial Pursuit on the left and Rummikub on the left

 Ray, trying to come up with the correct answer

 Jonathan and Barbara

 I'm not sure what Sam is doing!

 Karaoke time!

 Singing superstars!

It has become a tradition to spend July the 4th with the Doles family.  It's a fun way to celebrate the day!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stick With It Saturday

Samantha over at The Kelley Eight, frequently blogs on Saturdays about her exercising report for the week.  I am always encouraged when I read about other busy mothers making time for exercise, and I also love to celebrate with them their accomplishments.  So today, I will share my exercising for the week.

But first, I must share that this week has not been the best--exercise wise for me.  I am short 15 miles this week.  15 miles!  It's ok though.  I will begin again on Monday, and I will get all of my miles in next week.  (In the running world, new weeks begin on Mondays.)

Monday:  Rest day.  I was super sore after Sunday night's CrossFit workout which included 5 quarter mile sprints.
Tuesday:  Ran 3 miles followed by a CrossFit workout.
Wednesday:  Ran 6 miles.
Thursday:  Ran 2 miles followed by a CrossFit workout.  This one included 50 box jumps.  I have mastered the box jump!  But my knee was hurting a little bit yesterday....
Friday:  Planned to run 14 miles at 6:15 AM, but one of my running partners woke up with a high fever and the other one (Lynn) is in New York City!  With her husband Kelly.  So I never ran yesterday.  I just couldn't motivate myself to run 14 miles on the treadmill.  I began working on my school stuff instead.
Saturday:  That's today!  I have considered running my long run on the treadmill.....but I have talked myself out of it!  I do not want to spend 2.5-3 hours on the treadmill today.  Instead, I have planned a marathon school planning session!  So that leaves Sunday.....
Sunday:  Crossfit is planned for tomorrow night with our group.  It may or may not include a little bit of running, and I may or may not run an extra mile or two for a warm up or cool down.  Bottom line:  I was supposed to run 26 miles this week, and so far I have run only 11.

Some weeks are like that.

Next week's running mileage is 28.  I will get those miles in.  Check back next Saturday to see if I actually did!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Julie!

We celebrated Julie's birthday at Seaside this year.  What a wonderful place to celebrate a birthday!
Here is the birthday girl--on the balcony of our beach house.

Julie, in the den of our beach house--her presents are on the table behind her.  I did not put bows on the gifts (horrors!), because we were packed like sardines in our van!
The girls and I loved the pink walls!

Happy Birthday Julie!
I can't believe that you are 14!

Opening gifts----a cute shirt from Aunt Megan and Uncle Russ

Yarn from Mims and Pops 

Duck tape in fun colors 

A new running shirt in her favorite color
 After opening gifts, we walked to the town square and enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant.

Julie and Jimmy
Everyone drew on the paper table cloth while we waited for our food.

Julie with her birthday table.  I set it up while the children played all over the house.

A beach themed table setting since we were at Seaside!

The cake!
Julie requested pound cake. We transported it in the van with us and our one thousand other things on the 7 hour trip down to Seaside!  

Happy 14th Birthday, Julie!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Beach Reading

Last week while I was at Seaside, I spent four days in my beach chair (complete with cup holder), with my feet in the water, periodically counting heads (my five children's), and reading this book, Knowing God by J.I. Packer.

I highly recommend this book!  It was thought-provoking, challenging and encouraging.  I read it because it is one of four books that Olivia will read next year as part of her requirements for earning a high school credit in Bible.  I plan to buy her a new copy, for two reasons.

1.  The current copy is salty and splattered with seawater.
2.  I want to keep the copy I just read so I can reread it, chapter by chapter and underline, take some notes, etc.  This book was full of Scripture references, and I want to look up and read each and every one.

I plan to begin rereading Knowing God when I finish my B90 reading on October 8.

The main theme of this book is that to know God, you must love His Word.  And in my opinion, we can't love something we don't know, and we can't know something we don't spend time that is one reason why reading my Bible has to be high priority in my life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So Far This Week

Our VBS began yesterday.  Since I was gone to the beach all last week (what a wonderful, relaxing vacation that was!), and I had not gotten all of my planning and preparation done before I left, I spent all afternoon Sunday between worship services and until almost midnight that night getting everything ready.  Then I got up at 5:00 AM yesterday to finish everything up.

The first day of VBS was a huge success!  I have twelve 5-7 year olds, and Olivia and Julie are my helpers.  We studied about Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal and their contest to see whose god would light their altar with fire.  I had them put 450 dot stickers on 3 pieces of poster board to demonstrate how many Baal prophets there were to Elijah, all by himself.

Late yesterday afternoon, my neighbor brought me an 8 pound bag of freshly shelled peas.  So I proceeded to put those up, and I now have 30 cups of peas in my freezer!  I froze them in quart bags in 3 or 4 cup portions.  It made 8 bags in all.

I am moving right along with my B90.  In fact, I got about a day and half ahead while at the beach, so I will be glad for that when school starts.

Still no school planning, but I do have hope!  I do have next week!  We begin August 3.  As soon as I start working on school, I will blog as I go.

Exercise update:  My mileage dropped off the last two weeks.  In fact, last week I only got 20 miles in.  But I did do a brutal CrossFit workout with our group Sunday night, and I also did one this morning.  My running mileage goal for this week is 26.  Beginning August 1, I have to do 30 miles a week in order to prepare for marathon training, which will begin the first week of September.  I am nervous!

The rest of this week includes VBS, laundry, ironing, maybe some school planning/schoolroom cleanout, and hopefully blogging---I still have posts I want to write about July 4th, my new nephew, Julie's birthday, and our vacation.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guess Where We've Been!

If you need a hint, just read our shirts!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camp Week

Recently, all five children and I attended Rustic Youth Camp for the second time.  RYC is owned and run by Christians who desire a place for young people to gather together each summer in a very rustic setting and participate in things such as Bible study, singing, arts and crafts, archery, trap shooting, rock wall climbing, kickball, canoeing, soccer, disc golf, and various other P.E. type games--plus lots of time for the children and teens to visit and get to know one another.

I was one of five teachers for the five and six year old class.  We had 21 students!  One of the teachers was the lead teacher, and let me just say that being the lead teacher is a lot of work.  These lead teachers take their jobs very seriously, and they make sure that we provide the campers with a high quality camp experience.  I am more than happy to be an assistant, and to just have to teach for one day.  The other days I helped out as needed.  All day.  From 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The day campers are campers aged 3 years old to 6th grade.  Once a child is 13, he or she can be an overnight camper.  These campers stay in the bunkhouse with some very brave counselors.  Olivia loves staying overnight in the bunkhouse.  Julie, not so much.  She tried the bunkhouse for two nights, and decided that she preferred to stay with the rest of the children and me.  Olivia says that most of the fun occurs after the day campers leave!  The overnighters enjoy supper and breakfast together, in addition to lots of free time and an evening Bible study.  Time to forge lasting friendships.

Lynn and her four children and four of my children and I all stayed at Mrs. Beulah's house this year.  (Last year we stayed at a local hotel, and we vowed to NEVER stay there again!).  Mrs. Beulah lives about 25 minutes from the campground, and she was such a gracious host! We enjoyed getting to know her, and we really appreciated her hospitality.  It was a lot of fun staying there!

Each afternoon of camp, there is a time called "Sports".  Families are assigned either the red or blue team.  We were blue this year.  Every day during Sports, each class plays a game and the team that wins gets a point.  On Friday night at the skits and awards program for parents and other visitors, the winning team is announced.  Also on Friday afternoon, there is a sort of field day where each class rotates through various games, earning points for either red or blue.   

Each class is also supposed to create and practice some sort of skit for the program on Friday night.  My fantastic lead teacher had our skit all planned and we had most of our props made before we arrived at camp!  

Here are some highlights of our camp week:

 Parker and Clay enjoying lunch

 Julie waiting in line for lunch

 Olivia--in the woodworking area I think

 Julie (on the right in front)
and her Bible class

 Sam and Me

 Clay during Sports on Friday

 Clay (far right) and his class during their skit

 Sam's class doing their skit.  Sam is in a blue George Washington hat on the right.  The narrator read several historical facts about our country's history, and then the children sang and performed sign language to God Bless America.

 Sam--the children stamped the bandanas in class.  The teachers painted the shirts.

Leah and her class doing their skit.  They made their shirts during their arts and crafts time.

 Leah pretending to be an elephant

 Julie and her class doing their skit

Olivia, showing her happiness after receiving the Camp Sweetheart award.

Preparing for camp and actually teaching and working at camp wears me out!  But it is so worth it!  Not only are the children making friendships that will last a lifetime, I am making new friends too.  And I learn so much by being surrounded by such godly men and women.  I am encouraged by the other counselors, and when it is all over, I look forward to being with everyone again next summer.