Sunday, December 30, 2012

All the way.

This week has been an off week for us as we celebrate Christmas in Ohio with our family.  It's been nice to have a break from all things school, house, and moving related.  All too soon, we'll be back to the grind so a break is definitely welcome right now.

I suppose there isn't much to say on my homeschool blog when we're breaking from school, but it did occur to me that I would like to take a minute to discuss a topic that comes up every time we visit Ohio.  Inevitably, I get asked the same question every time we're around family and friends.  Sure, there are several inquiries into our homeschool and our lifestyle, but I suppose the question that I'm asked the most is..."When are the kids going to public school?" 

I try not to take immediate offense to that because typically none is intended.  However, I sometimes want to ask why they don't feel like I am doing an adequate job schooling the kids.  Is there something specific they are concerned with or am I doing something completely wrong? 

For a long time, my answer was always, "I only know what we're doing this year, I can't tell you what the future holds for us past that time."  But my answer has since changed.  My feelings on the matter have changed, too.  What I want to say, but don't always, is that I never plan on sending my kids to public school.  Yep, that's right, I plan to homeschool them ALL THE WAY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL!  

Is it a monumental task?  Yep, but so is parenting.  Will it be significantly more work that what I have now?  Absolutely.  Will it be worth it?  Undoubtedly. 

Why am I some adamant to do high school homeschool style?  Truthfully, my issues and concerns with public school don't end at 8th grade.  In fact, my issues and concerns become greater! I know I need to prepare all of us for a job so large, but I know I can handle it.  Even on the worst days of homeschooling, I know we can handle it. 

I'm not exactly sure what my plan is for high school.  Right now, I'm seeing that each of the boys have different homeshool learning styles and that would definitely make things a little more complicated, but I'm confident that I'm up for the task. 

With all that being said...why is it that on some days fourth grade seems pretty daunting?  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas time!  Our house is a flurry of activity as we prepare for our big trip to Ohio.  We're busy packing for our trip, packing our belongings into boxes as we get ready to move, shopping and wrapping gifts, and closing on the house.

Being busy with so much going on, school has become rather light around here. :)  As we approach having some time off for the holidays, I'll have the opportunity to reflect on how our year is going and where I'd like to see it go in the future.  I'll post about our new year's goals and then the more realistic goal list in next week's end of year blog post. 

I know one of our biggest areas of focus will be writing.  I definitely want to cultivate good writers and right now, I have grumpy writers.  I think one of my biggest problems is assigning Adisson a topic and expecting him to write about it well, as opposed to allowing him to choose a topic so he writes what he's interested in.  So, I guess it's a process for both of us.  Finding some writing tips on better paragraph writing, sentence structure, and different writing techniques will be important.

While we are busy and have a lot going on, the tragedy in Newtown isn't far from my mind.  It's hard to grasp the fact that while I'm preparing for Christmas with my three wonderful children, 20 families had to plan a funeral for their child.  It's difficult to come to terms with that.  I know of a few families that have decided in the last week that homeschooling may be the route they would like to pursue.  While I will never doubt or downplay the benefits of homeschooling, there's a lot of thought and consideration that goes into deciding to educate your child(ren) at home.  There's a great article written on knee-jerk homeschooling that is worth the read. 

Well, we have a lot of stuff to do and only one adult here to get anything done.  I hope you have the Merriest of Christmases and I'll be back before the New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

With the angels, let us sing.

Tonight I'm going to write about our week last week of homeschooling.  But I feel the need to tell you that the events that took place on Friday in Newtown, CT, have weighed heavily on my mind for the past three days.  I've hugged and kissed my boys so much this weekend that they've started walking in a large circle around me to avoid anymore squeezes.  The tragedy has broken my heart, like it has so many others.  Yes, our lives still carry on in this house with all of the things we are trying to get done, but that's because my kids don't know much, if anything, about what happened.  Because in our school, we're all safe and together everyday.  And I thank the Lord for that.

We close on the new house this week and with our trip to visit family fast approaching, our school days are becoming shorter and shorter.  This week, will be even more chaotic, but I'm pretty sure that will be the case for the next several weeks as we approach holidays, a homecoming, and a home moving. :)

The boys have had a little time to get their school work done.  Actually, they have plenty of time to get it done, but don't stay on task well if I'm not hovering over their shoulder.  I've got a mountain of boxes to pack so I can't stand beside them each minute of their school day.  I'd like to say we could get some school done while we're traveling across a few states, but I doubt that will happen.  I might glean a few tips from some roadschooling folks, but I'm not anticipating getting too much done--regardless of how many hours we spend in the car!

This week, I had a few people approach me about homeschooling. I LOVE to talk about homeschooling.  I know I make it sound really easy (when on one hand, it is and on the other, you feel like you might possibly pull your hair out), but I definitely want to give people the encouragement they need to get started.  One lady was concerned about getting started with her visual-spatial learner.  I naturally suggested that they check out Time4Learning and even try it out for a few weeks because I thought it could be a good fit for her daughter.  I know not every curriculum is for everyone, but like many other homeschoolers, I share what works for us, what didn't, and why.

Tomorrow, and every day this week, will be mind-numbingly busy...leading up to two very busy weeks in Ohio while we try to cram in as much visiting as possible with everyone...and then moving, moving, moving when we get home.  But everyday, I get to spend the day with my boys.  And everyday, I get to be so happy that they are home with me.

In my thoughts and prayers you remain, those whose lives were forever broken in Newtown.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A busy month already.

Last week was a good week!  We got quite a bit of school done.  I planned on taking Friday off because I had my treatment that day, so I scheduled around that.  That turned out be a great blessing because Friday was a horrible day.  My treatment was exhausting and painful and I just wanted to sleep it off (no rest for a mama holding it down without Dad, though).

Adisson started his new Science unit on sound.  We were both very grateful to be done talking about energy.  It was a really interesting unit, but it was pretty deep and I sometimes had a hard time explaining things when we had questions...thank goodness for the internet.  Fortunately, when Adam is home, all science questions get fielded by him as he's much more capable of handling that subject.

He also started a new unit in Social Studies--early America.  That time period is clearly his favorite and I know he's very excited to be starting that unit.  It's a long one and will take up most of our remaining year so I'm happy he enjoys the topic so well.

He continued working on all of his language arts.  He's pretty good with vocabulary, spelling, etc. but he doesn't particularly enjoy it.  My saving grace is how much he enjoys the time he gets to play hangman, at least I know he's learning something while playing a "game."  We're still battling it out with math.  He's getting a Kindle for Christmas so I'm hoping to add some really fun math apps on it...maybe we can try yet another venue for learning his math facts.  I hate to see him struggle with it. :(

Zander, my lovely little Kindergartener, practiced more of his reading skills.  He's pretty good but still lacks the confidence I wish he had.  He's getting some new books for Christmas so maybe that will help him feel like he can read as well as I know he can.  He's also learning how to write his middle name.  He really doesn't like to write his whole name at all and I remind him that he's my only son without two first names, so he should be grateful!! :)  He doesn't mind too much when he gets a handwriting worksheet, though.  Something about calling it a "worksheet" is enough to convince him to write with minimal struggle.  I don't get it, but whatever works.

My Jaxy is been as ornery as ever.  Last week we worked on matching, memory games, and distinguishing numbers.  He's pretty quick.  I wish he knew his colors a little better but apparently that's not been on my to do list so he hasn't picked it up too quickly.  The little guys are getting tablets for Christmas as well (that's about all they are getting) so I'm hoping we can play together on it to see what cool learning apps are available.  He plays this fun game on my Nook, well, we play it together and it's about numbers, shapes, colors, fruits, etc.  I'm hoping to find something like that for him.

I ordered a few school supplies last week and I'm excited to put them into practice once we get moved.  I've been thinking a lot about how our school room is going to be set up when we get to the new house.  I want to do things the way I want them to be, not just the way they have to be because of the furniture we have, the layout we have, the stuff we have.  I want things to be intentional, not just because.

We're also in the middle of all things Christmas.  I am hoping to take this week and spend some time working on some fun Christmas traditions.  I hate to take too much time off because January is going to be a month of chaos for us as we welcome Daddy home and we move and get settled.  But it is what it is.  This is our life, it happens.  I just want this time to be fun for us even though we have a million things to do.  :)

Off to plan out our week and spend some time on my handmade Christmas goodies. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bring on December!

So my kiddo turned 10 last week.  How did that happen? Wasn't he just a toddler?? :)  He was very excited about his birthday which was a pretty mellow affair here at home.  We did a few more things over the weekend, but I'm hoping we can do something pretty cool when his Dad gets home.  We're going to Myrtle Beach in January for a Scout overnighter, so hopefully we can go a day early and get to do some fun stuff then.  Anyway, here's a few pics: 
Silly boys!

Fun with party hats.

His "Minecraft" cake.  Ughhhh.
Last week was a pretty good school week. I would have been happier to continue our momentum and keep on working (instead of breaking for Adisson's birthday) but I suppose that's a perk of homeschooling....birthdays off.  

Adisson's been learning  about plots and setting in Language Arts, changing money in Math, and prepping for tests in Science and Social Studies.  This week, he'll be taking his chapter tests on Force and Ancient Civilizations.  We're still working on his multiplication facts, little by little we're getting there.  

Zander is doing really well with his beginner reading.  For Christmas, the boys will be getting books of some sort and I think I'll get Zander some more beginner books.  He really likes to read them and we only have so many.  He's really good at his phonetic reading and reading comprehension, but he could use a little extra practice.  Last week, we also decided to make flashcards for his sight words. He loves math and overall just loves his school work.  He doesn't love handwriting, but I think that's mostly Adisson's doing because he complains so much about handwriting! :)

Jax has been having tons of fun sorting colors this week.  He keeps sorting different colored beads into empty milk jug lids.  I don't know how that became a "game" really, but I think I just pulled a few things out of his busy box a few months ago and we came up with that sorting game rather randomly but it's one of his favorites.  

This week will be a good week for school.  We've gotten of schedule a little bit with Adam being away for work so we're going to get back into our regular routine.  That will help ensure we get everything completed each day.  

Here's to another fun week of homeschooling!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I could spend a year giving thanks!

I love Thanksgiving!  It's my favorite holiday!  I was a little sad that we weren't going home to Ohio for Thanksgiving this year, but it's pretty difficult to travel that far with the kids and no other adult to help me, plus expensive, and we have obligations we had to limit our trip to just at Christmas.  Fortunately, I have some AMAZING friends in Maryland who decided to come down to spend the holiday with us and it was so nice.  Plus, I got to go Black Friday shopping with one of my most favorite people.  :) last week was sparse.  We did a little, not a lot.  I've promised myself and my boys that the next four weeks of school before Christmas and moving were going to be purposeful and busy.  They said ok, but  I know they like the weeks of easiness.  :)

I've been checking out where they are now with school as we approach the end of the first half of the year.  Adisson's doing pretty well.  We're starting to get a little behind in math, but we are still constantly working on multiplication tables.  He's getting there and I'm so happy for that.  It's a slow and steady approach that will get us there and that's not typically something we encounter.

Zander is doing really well.  I hope this week we can spend a little extra time working on his reading.  He's doing a great job and I just don't want him to lose his momentum.  Plus, I know he'd be so excited to take a book or two to Ohio and show his grandparents his "new trick" and read a few books.

Jax is being Jax.  Fortunately, I sometimes see a glimmer of hope in his behavior, like maybe he is understanding me when I tell him why we can't throw an xbox controller at the tv.  On a good note, the tv will be mounted much higher in the new house so that will eliminate that particular source of frustration for me.  :)

As I've been going through the boys curriculum to see where we stand and where I'd like for us to be before we break for Christmas, I've realized what a blessing it has been for me to have found Time4Learning.  My only regret is that I wish we would have found it sooner.  It's been exactly what we need.  It's great to be able to recommend a program that works across many levels including special needs learning and homeschooling gifted learners.  I feel that there are so many kids that could benefit from this style of learning. It's also a blessing for me as it's super easy for me to see where we are, what we need to work on, etc.

Anyway, I've been saying that my blog posts will get better and I still promise they will.  :)  With Adam leaving, Zander's birthday, Thanksgiving, this week is Adisson's birthday, getting ready for Christmas, building a new house and getting ready to's been a lot.  But I'm committed to schooling these cute little guys and telling you about it.  So, again I promise that the more detailed blog posts (and with pictures!) will be back...hopefully VERY soon!! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Starting to get back on track.

Finally!  A week where we actually spent some time learning!  :)  What a relief!

We had a busy week getting things ready for Zander's 6th birthday party.  It was a small party, just the four of us and Adisson's friend who spent the night.  Zander had requested a Spider-Man themed party and I happily obliged.  We found a few decorations, I planned a cake and a few snacks (most of which got scrapped in the interest of finishing up party prep so my guy could get to his presents).

But about school...Zander is busy learning about syllables and reviewing rhyming words (which is sometimes a struggle).  He's also been practicing his writing and spelling his last name.  I really want to work on teaching him how repeat and write his address, but we're holding off the writing part until after we move.  I'd rather not confuse him if that's possible.  :)

Adisson spent the week learning about Incans and Aztecs, reviewing how to make change with money, and learning about interjections.  He's supposed to be writing in his journal everyday but he doesn't particularly like writing, unless he's writing about his favorite video game...then he can write forever. I'm hoping we can work together to remedy this situation but it's nice to know there's creative writing help available.

We also took a field trip to the Marbles Museum in Raleigh.  We had been there before over the summer with Adam's parents, but when it's a weekend in the summer, that place is PACKED.  I thought for sure it would be a lot less busy since the kids were in school.  No...they were all there on a field trip.  Goodness, I was wrong!  :)  Fortunately, it wasn't so busy that we couldn't play and the public school kids and daycare centers left just after lunch time so we had a few hours where it was pretty quiet...which the boys LOVED!

My littlest guy LOVES to hang!

He was very interested in the Big Boy stuff.

The real tools section was a HUGE hit.  They got to use REAL saws!
You just wear your socks and it's slippery like a hockey rink.  They spent a LONG time here!

So that was our week in a nutshell.  This week will be a short school week because of Thanksgiving.  I want to do a few Science lessons and some art projects and that will probably be the extent of it all.  If I plan on keeping it pretty simple and light, I'm happy when I meet those expectations!  :)  If I'm not back before....HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Not a whole lotta learning....

It was a very busy week for us.  I feel like I keep saying that over and over again.  But things should begin to settle down a little now.  (Read: husband is finally on his "fishing trip".)  Every time he leaves, I'm whiny because he's gone, but it's also a sigh of relief that the anxiety of all the preparations is over.  So, now I've got to get back to work...literally and figuratively.  :)

Last week was not a busy school week for us.  We talked a lot about politics (which I won't discuss here) and what it means to vote.  I took the boys with me to vote so they could see the process and I wanted them to see me exercising my right to do so.  It was a great learning experience for us, in several ways.  

I still wanted them to have some time with school, no matter how brief.  They each spent some time playing some educational games online.  I just didn't have more time to devote to school last week and I'm ok with that.  We'll be making up for that this week.  Adisson did some spelling/language arts games (hangman, missing letter, and context games) while Zander did some letter matching and math games.

This week will be different.  :)  I don't have many plans, other than doing stuff around the house.  We're beginning preparations for moving so we're going through EVERYTHING to decide what can be kept and what is to be donated.  Tomorrow, we're participating in a Veteran's Day parade with Cub Scouts.  My middle son turns 6 on Saturday so we'll be having a birthday party for him.  And that's about it.  In the meantime, I've got crocheting to finish up and start, Christmas gifts to make, and a HUGE furniture project I'd like to have done before Adam gets home, though I'm not holding out a ton of hope.  :)

I'm hoping my next school update is a good one.  I'm hoping this upcoming week of school is a good one.  I'm hoping for projects, experiments, art, and learning.  I'm hoping I have a much better blog post to share with you regarding our week of homeschooling than I do now.  :)

I'm also hoping that the next few weeks/months are safe, uneventful, and find me on the other side of this fishing trip welcoming my husband home.  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

.....carry on.

Another hectic week.  We've been working on last minute shopping, making sure Adam has everything he needs before he leaves, making sure I have everything done before he leaves.  We're totally bucking our normal tradition and setting up our Christmas tree this week.  The boys want their dad to see it before he goes.  It's mostly because I'm sooo hormonal right now, but things like that make my heart break.  I ask so much of my boys to be brave, strong, courageous...when some days being a military kid just kinda sucks.  :(

School has been going along, slowly, but going.  Zander is still working on reading skills.  He's doing pretty well!  He doesn't seem too rushed to learn so we're taking it slow.  He does really well with his online math games, but when you're in Kindergarten, math is pretty simple.  :)

Adisson has moved on to Mayan history in Social Studies and simple machines in Science, both of which are pretty interesting.  He could pretty much do those two subjects all day.  Nevertheless, we worked on interjections and idiom games, as well.  Math, the ever present thorn in my side, still comes around to taunt us on a daily basis.  We don't give up, we just keep working on it.  He'll get it.  It may kill me, but he'll get it.

Jaxon is learning many different ways he can tell me he's not interested in peeing on the potty.  I have no hope that he'll graduate from diapers anytime before next summer, but a tired, old mama can dream, right?

I know this is our homeschooling blog, and I try hard to keep it mostly focused on our homeschooling adventures, but you know that isn't always possible.  I want to tell you how exciting is to watch our house being built from the ground up as the boys have thoroughly enjoyed every visit we've made out there (more so for the big pile of dirt in the yard than for anything else, really).  And I have to tell you about what we're experiencing as my husband's trip draws near, because it's here, it's there, it's all around us.  So what I'm asking you now is that as I share our lives with you, would you pray for my family, if you're the praying kind?    Or thinking good thoughts for us if that's more your thing.  Separation is hard for my guys, no matter how brief it may seem to others.  It's not a picnic for me, either, but I'll do ok.

Jax will ask everyday where his Daddy is and when is he coming home?  Is it now?  How about now?  In a little bit?  And Zander will ask me how many times does he have to wake up until his Daddy is here?  And why does his Dad have to miss his birthday?  And Christmas?  And Adisson, my strong, silent guy will wish that his Dad was here for Cub Scouts, for his birthday, and for when Black Ops 2 comes out.  I'll wish I didn't have to go to the store with three kids asking for 8 different kinds of cereal, remember to take the trash to the curb, or fix stuff.  Mostly, I'll just miss having my partner in crime chaos life be home everyday, reminding me that as long as we're together, everything is right.

It's what we do...being an Army family.  And sometimes, it all seems great.  But when I miss Ohio so much I cry or when my husband is getting ready to leave on a jet plane, being an Army family takes all the strength I have, we have.

But man, if we aren't one heck of an Army Strong family.  :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's getting closer.

So I feel like I should preface this blog post with a disclaimer.  As you should already know, we're an Army family.  A busy, busy, busy Army family.  My husband has been active duty for over 9 years and we've been through our share of Army related, and more than our share of non-Army related, struggles.  On that note, we're approaching yet another Army "situation" if you will.  The boss man is heading out of the area for awhile.  Not too long (more than a day, less than a year), but long enough that I'll be solo parenting more than I'd like.

In the time leading up to his departure, I'm stressed out.  I'm fussy, grumpy, and sometimes, just kinda mean.  I don't want to be.  It's just that when he's not here, nothing feels right.  Each person in this family plays their part and has such a significant role in our lives that when one of them is absent, they are sorely missed.  When my partner in life is away, I'm unsettled and sad.  And truthfully, I'm not looking forward to taking care of every.single. detail of our lives by myself.  I know the time is approaching, so my worry has already begun.  It helps nothing at all to worry, it's just how I am. :)

Suffice to say, this house is in a little bit of chaos.  When mama is flustered, everyone is flustered.  So homeschooling isn't getting my best effort, housework is falling a little behind (but that's also because I'm in a constant state of decluttering so we don't take unnecessaries to the new house), my work isn't getting 110%, my crafts aren't seeing my best efforts.  And I hate that.  Because I can handle this.  We've been through so much before and I've managed to get through it; this time won't be nearly as long, so I shouldn't be complaining, right?  Well, I can't help it.  He drives me completely crazy sometimes, but I sure do miss him when he's not here.

Anyway, my very long disclaimer over, I want to talk to you about our week.  Once again, I'm super grateful to have found an online homeschool curriculum, because I'm entirely too sidetracked to make lesson plans on my own!  Having the boys sit down, sign in, and get started has been a big help this last week.  I'm right beside them when they are learning new stuff (and always when working on Math, Science, and Social Studies) and nearby when reviewing but having everything already planned out has freed up a lot of mental space for me!

Next week, I want to focus on adding in some pizzazz to our homeschool.  This may not be the best time, but I want to do something fun!  The boys have been asking about an Art program so I was relieved to find that T4L has an art curriculum.  Thank goodness!  I'm hoping to read/watch the first few lessons this weekend so I can be ready to get started with the boys next week.  It's always easier for me if I've prepared ahead of time.

We've been super busy with Cub Scouts the last few weeks and I think it will be that way for the next few weeks, which is fine by us.  I enjoy having something to work on and the kids enjoy getting to do fun stuff.  Our Pack is starting a little "den" for siblings while the Scouts are in their meetings.  This will be a HUGE help to me as half of my struggle when Adam is away is keeping my little boys entertained while I conduct a meeting for eight boys.

So, thanks for understanding about my not so great school updates.  Things will even out in the next few weeks.  When Adam's away, it's harder in some ways, but it works itself out in others.  We'll be able to get back to school being our focus instead of prepping for his absence being our focus.  Of course, we won't have long to rest as I'm pretty sure we're about 60 days away from closing on the house.  Sometimes, I almost feel like Superwoman.  But that can't be right....I never get everything done! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little of this, little of that.

This week has been a pretty easy week so far and I'm pretty sure the boys are excited about that!  I had an infusion today so I never count on getting much done since I'm at the hospital for about 4 hours.  Fortunately, I left a list behind of things that needed to be done today and saved the heavy stuff for tomorrow.

Adisson is still working hard on his multiplication facts.  I hate that he struggles so much with math anxiety so I keep trying to find new and exciting ways for him to practice.  He's getting better, little by little, but still does not look forward to the math portion of his day.  But any progress is success so we'll just keep going.

Zander has been working more on reading.  He gets so excited to work toward reading a new book.  We have to work on sight words this week, but we introduce them a few at a time, so it's not too overwhelming. Next week, I'm hoping we can spend some more time working his handwriting.  He doesn't like to write when he's asked to and I'm afraid I'm going to have yet another son with barely legible handwriting.

Jaxon is working on counting and shapes.  He's getting pretty good at recognizing numbers and counting past 10.  When he's in a good mood, he's super fun to be around.  Otherwise, he can be *challenging*..... but he's my baby so I deal with it.  He's really having fun playing computer games like his big brothers.  I've been letting him get on Time4Learning's preschool lessons and he LOVES it!  He really likes to "do school work" like his big brothers.  I get tickled seeing how well he can navigate a mouse and through a lesson.

I know I talk a lot about how great homeschooling is for us and it's a decision that I often defend and readily stand beside, but I know it's not for everyone.  Of course, there are pros and cons to homeschooling for every family.  I understand the decision to homeschool may not work for every family, just as the choice of curriculum or after school sports wouldn't be exactly the same for each family.

Anyway, that's about it for our week so far.  It's getting hectic here because Adam's getting ready to leave soon and we are busy trying to get  A LOT of stuff done before he goes.  We'll be moving AS SOON as he returns home so there's just a never ending list of things to do.  But...that's how we roll so it's nothing new, really.  In the meantime, I've got a few more things to do tonight for work, school, and play so I'll wrap this up.  Back in a few days with an update!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Another day.

Today, we got to take advantage of the amazing weather and spend the afternoon in the park with friends.  A park with very few other people, allowing the boys to run around shooting Nerf guns at each other for a few hours.  These days are some of my favorite homeschooling days.

In school news, we're finished with our online lessons of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus River Valley.  Adisson took his test on it today and did really well.  It's exciting when the information *sticks*.  We're going to do a few projects next week before we head into our next unit.  One of which is to set up a race between two people to see who can find all of the places we've talked about on a blank map.  Adisson said he wanted to race his Dad since he knows I could win if he races me!

Yesterday, something supremely amazing happened at our house.  Zander read his first book.  :)  And everyone got excited!  Today, he read another book.  And it was still just as awesome.  We tried working on reading before the summer started, but it was more frustrating than it was fun so we put it aside...completely.  I started working with him again this week and it's definitely "clicking" this time.  I'm telling you, these are the moments.  A kid understanding and remembering information that we've been working on from the start of school until now, another kid grasping the ideas of reading, these are the reasons I don't give up, these are the reasons why I love homeschooling.  Sometimes, I have to remind myself of these moments when I feel like throwing in the towel.  Let me tell you, I've had several of those "throw-in-the-towel" moments this week alone!

Other learning took place this week, too.  Adisson's science lessons have been about energy.  Science is NOT my favorite (read: I usually don't understand it!) so I'm hoping that if we have some spare time this weekend, we can fit a few experiments that I'd like for Adam to work on with the boys.  We're still brushing up on pronouns and adjectives with Adisson, which he doesn't enjoy, but he doesn't mind the spelling games, so I'll take what I can get.  We're also working on multiplication but let's not visit that dark place.  :)

Zander and I have spent extra time this week reading together and talking about things that we've read.  Maybe that's all he really needs right now, some one-on-one time with me to just talk and read.  Sure, we have lots of time together, but not a lot of it is alone, quiet, and without someone needing my attention for something.  I hope he knows how much I cherish him.  I'm sure it's difficult when Adisson's working on 4th grade stuff and needs my help and Jaxon is two and spends his entire day demanding my attention.

I know I talk about how great homeschooling is and how much I love it.  It is great and I do love it, but some days are horrible.  Some days, the boys spend ALL DARN DAY fighting with each other, whining about school (ARE WE DONE, YET?!), fussing about chores, complaining about every.single.thing and I feel like I'm only here to clean, cook, and mediate.  Some days, I barely get showered before Adam gets home, some days I don't manage to fit that in until after the kids are in bed. I often feel like I'm failing at something or several somethings all at once.  At least once each week, I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing by homeschooling and wonder if the boys would gain more by being in public school...or if I'd be less stressed if they got on that bus.  But at the end of the day when I sit down to blog about our school, I have a minute to reflect on the good stuff and not just be zeroed in on the bad stuff.  When it's quiet, when the day is over, I remember the reasons why we've chosen this lifestyle.  And I get myself ready for another day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A mid-week recap.

Well this week has been going along much better than last week.  Thank goodness!

Our lessons about Egypt have been very interesting.  I've found a pretty cool unit study that we'll do next week that will go over everything we've learned.  Fortunately, we've done several of the projects Time4Learning suggests.  That's probably why he's enjoyed this study so much!  We spent some time this afternoon watching a few documentaries that we recorded on the DVR.  They were neat, but it was hard to pay attention to them while the little boys were wrestling in the living room.  I suppose that's how it goes with three boys running around.  

Science has been interesting, but almost a little difficult to understand.  We've been talking about many different kinds of energy.  He's been doing ok with them, does well on his quizzes, answers my questions ok, but it's not nearly as much fun as doing cool experiments.  Fortunately, his friend is coming over on Friday to discuss plans for their big Science Fair project.  We have to submit paperwork and have our project reviewed and approved before we can even get the boys started on it.  I'm not sure what I'd say to them if we were told that it wasn't approved??

Language Arts has been rather uneventful.  How exciting can it be to learn more about nouns and verbs?  But he does well in that area and it goes by rather quickly.  If only I could convince him to write without whining.  You'd think I was forcing manual labor on him with the protesting I get when I suggest that he write slower/neater/nicer, etc.  Goodness.  I guess it's somewhat comforting to know that I'm not the only mom of a 9 year old who hates to write.  I will say, he will sit in front of a computer screen and type out a whole story to his heart's content, though.  

I need to get us started on his art lessons and music study.  Right now, though, it feels like we're just trying to keep up with the rest of school lessons without adding anything.  With the house being built, my husband getting ready to leave, and my health issues, I'm not sure there is time for anything else.  Yet.  We'll get there!

Zander has been working on a literature based unit study this week.  He really enjoys his computer time but was hoping for some more one on one time with me.  I turned to something that has worked for us in the past.  So this week, we are reading The Story About Ping.  It's been as lovely as it was when Adisson and I read this story a few years ago.  It's still not as easy to fit everything in as I was hoping it would be,  but I'm trying so hard to find the balance.  If only I wasn't also designing our new house at the same that definitely eats up every extra minute I have.  

Anyway, there's more to say but even more to do and I've got to wrap this up.  I'll be back at the end of the week...don't hold your breath! :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

When life gets in the way.

This week was not a school filled week.  :)  I know I've mentioned it before, but I have health issues that I deal with on an ongoing basis.  This week was a week of not feeling well, a long day at the infusion clinic, and the arrival of company.  So we spent a little time with school, but not enough.  But...that's life.  And honestly, as my husband prepares to deploy later this month, I expect there will be a few more days like these.

We did manage to work on a few things.  I printed off a few English practice worksheets and math worksheets for review.  Adisson struggles with multiplication quite a bit and that's what we're working on in math right now.  I know some people aren't big fans of printable worksheets, but I like them.  Since we use a computer-based curriculum as our core learning program, it's important to me that Adisson has opportunities to review material and practice writing as well.  For instance, it's imperative that he set up a math problem correctly on paper, ensuring that all the numbers line up where they need to be, and that he shows his work for each problem.

We did find some time to talk about ancient Egypt since that is what we are studying right now.  We learned about the mummification process.  And that was gross!  But little boys get really excited to learn when you start talking about using a wire hook to pull a brain out of a nostril.  :)  The plan is spend the beginning part of next week building a pyramid from Legos and making a mummy case from cardboard.

Adisson and his homeschooled best friend are entering a local science fair and this week decided on a science project.  They are going to make a battery from pennies and nickels.  I've never tried this experiment before and they haven't either so it will be fun to learn about it together.  We weren't able to meet up to discuss the project, so the boys talked about it over the internet via webcam.  They thought that to be pretty funny and spent most of the time making faces at each other.  :)

Zander and I have a hard time working on things together during a good week of school so this week that was even more difficult.  I underestimated how difficult it was going to be teaching two kids with Jaxon running around throwing toys and yelling.  I'm still waiting on the answer of how to do it all better, but this homeschool mom is no superwoman.  I am definitely struggling to find the balance right now.

I still want to talk about how great Cub Scouts is going and the impact it has on our school.  I still want to make a video about the great toddler busy bags we have and how they can manage to keep Jax occupied for a few minutes at a time.  I keep saying I'll get to those things, but in reality, that might all have to wait until I get through these next few weeks of prepping for a deployment.  Being a homeschooling Army family definitely adds some extra chaos....errr, excitement, to our lives.  :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Making your own pretty gross!

This week was a pretty fun week.  We didn't go anywhere so that might have had something to do with it.  We definitely get a lot more done at home when we aren't busy running around.  We had a few Scout meetings, but nothing too hectic.

Adisson breezed through homophones and we also worked on rounding numbers and estimation.  I wish he didn't hate math so much, and it's only about to get worse as we'll be reviewing multiplication facts, but maybe one day it won't be so bad.  (I really don't believe that as I type it.)  Necessary evils, I guess.  :)

Something that is new for us this week is our premium membership to Spelling City.  We've been using the free side of the site for our weekly spelling lists, review exercises, and online spelling tests, but I had no idea what I was missing out on by not having a premium membership, until now.  I've set up an account and login just for Adisson where he can sign on and see what assignments he has and when they are due.  Plus, I've added all of his vocabulary lessons because there are parts of the site set up just for vocab. lists.  Adi is getting to practice his spelling and vocabulary words in several different ways, which really reinforces what he's learned.  My favorite is the definition matching game, but his favorite is Speedy Speller.  :)

We talked a lot about ancient Egypt this week.  Adisson would love to visit all the places we talk about.  First, he wanted to see the Stele of Hammurabi on display in France.  Now, the Rosetta Stone, which is located in England.  We also, briefly, mentioned Old Faithful the other day, so now he wants to go there.

This week, after discussing ancient Egyptian writing, we tried our hand at making paper.  It was gross. :)  But here are a few of our pictures from that experiment!!

Our ingredients needed for homemade paper: blender, bowl full of newspaper squares,
and homemade hanger/pantyhose screens for the pulp.

Adisson getting ready to play with the icky stuff. 

We decided to add blue food coloring to our paper pulp.

A sink full of water, some glue, and a whole lotta gross, wet newspaper bits.  

Our homemade paper.  Adisson's on the left, mine and Zander's on the right.
Adisson's turned out REALLY nice!

A close-up of how pretty it turned out.  

Zander and I are still trying to find our rhythm and I'm not sure what's taking us so long. He really enjoys his computer work and we have a great time reading books together.  He participates in all of our science experiments and social studies projects.  I guess we just haven't found our niche yet.  We stopped by our local homeschool bookstore (AMAZING place, btw) and I picked up a few old Mailbox Magazines for Kindergarten.  Maybe a more purposeful lesson plan will help out with our day.

Jax has been enjoying his toddler busy "bag" activities lately.  I made several of them for him over the summer.  Instead of showing you pictures, I'm thinking I'll do a video blog on what we have/use/like here at our house.  Vlogging is a new idea for me, but I'm pretty interested in it so hopefully I'll have something for you soon!!

Well, that about sums up our week here.  I hope there's more fun to report next week as we continue on our adventures in homeschooling!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I love what I do!

I love blogs with pictures.  I love cell phones that work.  Sadly, I have neither of those things right now.  :)

I wanted to share with you one of the things I love most about homeschooling.  I get to learn! I know that might sound silly or ridiculous, but I never knew how much I didn't know until I started homeschooling.  Sure, the first few years, you're teaching basic stuff and you likely already know whatever you're talking to your kids about...but then they get bigger.  And school becomes just really fun!  Hectic, tiring, overwhelming, sometimes, but fun!

Adisson's favorite subjects are science and social studies.  He'd love to NEVER have to do language arts, spelling, or math.  We could read about ancient Egypt for the whole day and don't get me started on his love of science experiments.  I get excited, too, because sometimes I feel like I'm learning things for the first time.

This week is yet another busy one and next week is shaping up to be even more so.  But every few days we take a trip out to our home site and find out new things about building a house.  At our new house, we'll have half an acre of woods and the boys are ECSTATIC!  Bugs, sticks, dirt, trees....honestly, the environment was a large determining factor in us choosing that house, that subdivision (very secluded and private), that plot of land.  All so my little guys can spend time every day getting to see stuff, touch stuff, experience things that we wouldn't otherwise.

So the long and short of's fun to be a homeschooling family when you love learning as much as we do.  :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Seriously, another week has flown by already?

Wanna hear about our week?  It's been very hectic!

Sadly, that meant putting our big social studies projects on hold until next week.  I was disappointed and so were the boys.  We kept up with our "3 R's" this week, but kept it pretty light for science and social studies due to our busy schedule.  We did some small science experiments this week regarding temperature and solutes, solvents, and solutions.

Today, I spent a majority of my time getting things cleaned around the house as we have company this weekend!  My in-laws are here for a quick visit and we were busy getting the guest room ready and the house straightened up.  We had time this morning for language arts, spelling, and math.  Since we didn't get to our social studies today,  I decided the boys could at least spend some time playing some geography games online.  Adisson and I had fun trying to label all 50 states correctly on a blank map before our time ran out.  He also enjoyed playing timed geography spelling games.  That kid can get really excited racing against a clock.  Then, he played some online hangman.  He didn't realize he was practicing his spelling words. :)

Zander is working on writing his last name.  It's hard for him because he will only write in capital letters.  He ends up using the whole line for his first name and not having enough left for his last name. He also spent some time this week using the file folder games I made for him.  I've learned, though, that he's advancing beyond them and I need to make some that will be more relevant to his current level of learning.

Jaxon has been learning this week, as well.  We've been practicing his counting which is pretty good until he hits about 13 and then it gets a little out of order until he gets to 17 then he seems ok!  He's been fussing lately that he wants to have time on the computer, too, to do his school work.  I try to make sure he gets to play a little online, but it's hard when there's four people trying to use one computer.  I think another desktop computer is in our future so we can set up a computer lab.

I know I promised pictures this week, but my phone is still broken.  Ugh.  When you utilize a smartphone for a lot of everyday activities/information, it can be frustrating to be without it.  The new parts were to come in today, but did not make it here.  Hopefully, I can get it fixed this weekend.  Being married to a tech geek sure has its advantages.

Ok, tomorrow is going to be a tremendously busy day with our company so I'll wrap this up.  I hope you had a good week of homeschooling and a great weekend of family time ahead of you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Refreshed (and tired) after a quick getaway.

We've been so busy in the last week!  I've got a great "what we've been doing" blog post coming up on Thursday.  Well, hopefully.  My iPhone is on the fritz (because it's old and I'm too cheap to replace it) and I'm waiting on parts in the mail so my tech-savvy husband can fix it and save me a bundle of money. :)  Anyway, it's what I use to take pictures of our school work (because it's infinitely easier to get my pics off of the phone than off of my husband's DSLR camera) so if it's fixed, pics are on the way.

I did want to update y'all on what we've been doing.  Right now, Adisson is learning about The Nile and the Stele of Hammurabi in Social Studies and conductivity and solutions/solvents/solutes in Science.  He's been practicing adding whole numbers in Math, suffixes in Language Arts, and lots of spelling words.  Zander is learning how to spell and write his last name, learning our address (though, it's going to frustrate him to learn a new one in a few months!), the days of the week, months of the year, and our phone number.  Plus, we're practicing counting to 100.  Jaxon is learning how to get out of trouble by making this super funny face that makes it impossible not to laugh.  :)

We just got home last night from a weekend at Myrtle Beach and it was AMAZING!  It's been two years since we've been to the ocean (WHAT?!!?!) and I forgot how much we loved it.  And we really loved it.  Jaxon, not so much maybe, but we had such a great time and I hope it's not another two years before we get back.  Thankfully, we're much closer now than we ever have been.  It was just an incredible weekend with my family.  I'm so very blessed.

In other, non-school news, we're still in the early stages of talking about what our options are regarding buying a home, I've found a wonderful doctor who has given me a lot of new (some good, some not so good) information, and I think I've planned all of Christmas out in my head. :)

Stay tuned for an in-depth look at our school week in a few days.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back on track.

What a difference a few days can make.  :)

Adisson and I have been working really hard to get him caught up in the last two days.  I know I shouldn't be so schedule focused, but prior to this year, and prior to Time4Learning, I didn't do the job I should have done as a homeschool mom.  It didn't make a huge difference because Adi is a voracious reader and seemed to pick up what he needed, but I promised him (and myself) that things would be different for us this year.  I wanted him to know that I viewed his education as important and a priority...not something we just fit in when we could.  So I have a schedule.  And if we miss a day, I want to make it up.  And we do.  :)

This week we've been talking about antonyms and synonyms for language arts.  Adisson knows what they are and what they mean, but he's struggled a few times with antonyms.  I know if he would slow down and read things carefully, he'd do MUCH better but he's not hearing me when I explain that to him.  Using a computer based curriculum is great, but I also like to reinforce what we're learning with supplemental worksheets, especially if he's struggling.  Thankfully, I found a teacher resource page that had a few synonym and antonym worksheets for extra practice.  We worked on it again today and he seemed to understand things much better and breezed right through the lesson.

Math is going pretty well so far this week.  He's been doing less than/greater than and he LOVES that because he's good at it.  I don't have to hear him grumble when it's time for math.  We've saved a lot of our big science and social studies lessons for tomorrow and Friday because I wanted to spend most of the day focused on those two subjects.  I'm hoping to add several pictures soon of what we worked on this week, along with a more detailed blog post about what we've learned.

The beginning of our school year has been a little hectic, of course, and my big focus has definitely been on Adisson and starting his fourth grade year out strong.  I definitely want to take more time doing other things with Zander, though.  I want him to know that his school work is just as important to me.  He LOVES doing his school stuff on the computer and really enjoys his online kindergarten games, I just want to be sure that when it's his turn, he gets my undivided attention, too.  I'm hoping to add in a few things next week that are just for him.  I don't want my poor middle kid to ever feel like he's just lost in the shuffle.  :)

It's been a long day.  School was busy, dentist appointment this afternoon, mowing this evening (I hate to do it, but I always feel like She-Ra when I do some manly task all by myself!), and doing dishes while the boys turned the hallway into a bowling alley (literally).  I'm going to go lay down, watch a chick flick I've been meaning to see, and call it a day.  :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good intentions, huh?

How did my best laid plans get interrupted already?

I hate when I schedule things and they don't get done.  It really irritates me.  Then I get irritated that I'm irritated.  :-/

On Friday, I spent a large majority of the day cleaning and organizing.  My husband will be out of the area on a lengthy TDY trip (that's army-speak for "out of town for work") soon and I'm desperate to get a laundry list of tasks done before he leaves.  I am NOT changing the air filters in the ceiling...and other tales of an army wife... :)  As a result, I was not able to stand over Adisson's shoulder while he worked and he didn't get everything done.

Last night, I reworked this week's schedule to include any missed assignments from Friday.  It was going to make for a heavy workload today, but I was sure we'd get through it.  I had a doctor's appointment this morning that I thought would be quick, fast, and in a hurry.  I figured I'd be home before ten and then we would have the whole day to get school work done.

Errrrrnt.  (that's the sound of a buzzer or something.  It says "wrong!!")  I was at the doctor's office ALL MORNING.  It was a very productive appointment but it messed up all my plans.  Ugh.  I got home, fed the boys, and laid down on the couch.  Then I decided to get everyone loaded up in the van to go look at a model home.

Because on top of Adam leaving for awhile, on top of being sick (more on that at the end), and on top of homeschooling the boys, we're buying a house.  And not just any house.  A house that hasn't been built yet.  Yep.  I like to cram it all in together.

So then we spend a few hours looking at houses and our potential new neighborhood.  We love it.  I mean, LOVE it.  I take the boys to McDonald's to say thank you for being so good while I was talking to the builder's rep. and by the time we got home, it was 7:00.  And still no work done today.


So I feel a little defeated.  Week three and we're behind the eight ball.

(Note: I have an immune deficiency.  Prior to moving to NC, I received regular blood treatments for the disorder but when we relocated, it took me a long time to get the process started up again.  Now I'm back to getting my care figured out and this time with the aid of a great doctor who understands my condition.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I wish I could bottle the "new school year" excitement!

Week Two has started off well.  Around here, I celebrate even the smallest victories!

This year, I'm hard at work on a few key areas in our homeschool.  The first of which is the most fun...PROJECTS!  The boys love projects and truth be told, I love them, too.  It can be difficult to work on a project with a toddler running around toilet papering the house, but I'm doing the best I can to keep him involved and entertained.  It really doesn't help that he's trying to give up his nap time right now (this Mama is NOT ready for that!!).  Time4Learning's homeschool Social Studies and Science often have smaller projects sprinkled throughout the lessons that require minimal supplies and set up time so I've promised we'd try to include those as often as we can.  This week, that means that we are cave painting, cuneiform making, and mold growing. :)  Adisson is thrilled!!  We've completed our painting and cuneiform writing.  Tomorrow, we'll start our bread mold science project.

Clockwise from top left: Mine, Jaxon's, Zander's, and Adisson's ancient Mesopotamia cave writing.

Adisson's clay tablet.  We had such a good time with this!

And our next (and biggest) area to improve on is math.  Math is not Adisson's strong suit and as a result, he doesn't enjoy it. Of all subjects we spend time on, math is his least favorite.  Fortunately, he definitely enjoys online math over workbooks.  We still use worksheets to reinforce learned concepts, but he definitely seems to gain the necessary math skills quicker if he's working online.  So far, the start of this year has been review and he's really good at the concepts he's been reviewing.  I hope that helps build up his confidence when things get a little more difficult as the year progresses.  I have no exciting math pictures to share with you.  :)  How exciting are math worksheets anyway?  But so far all of them have a nice smiley face stamp on them, so that's good news.

On a side note, Zander gets a sticker on his papers for a job well done and Adisson has decided that he's "way too old" for that and would like a stamp instead.  The only stamps I have are some marker stamps I picked up from the dollar store.  When I was shopping last weekend, I looked all over the place for some neat little stamps and the only ones I found were girly ones.  That would not work here. Where have all the stamps gone?  :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Week One: Done

We finished our first week of school!  But because I haven't posted them yet, here are some pics of my goofy guys on the first day of school.  I have nicer pictures on the camera, but I snapped these with my phone when they were being silly.  I love the silly pictures the best!! :)

My little duck face. :)  
Forever a pirate.  

This is the "Ok, stop now, be serious," pose I got.  

Zander was excited every single day he woke up, ready to start school.  He's got that Kindergarten zeal that I love so much.  He's in love with learning right now and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  Especially since my oldest son feels like he should not be bothered with school.  Sigh.  We're working on attitudes around here, too, but it's no surprise to me where he gets it from...I've met his parents.  

Jax really wants to be included, so he often is.  We spend most of our day in the school room.  I'm so glad we made the decision a few months ago to switch some rooms around and make the "bonus room" our school room instead of just the toy room.  It's been a huge blessing and it's what keeps all three boys engaged all day.  While Adisson is working on his Time4Learning at the desk, Zander is at the school table working on his handwriting or coloring or just telling me a story, and Jax is over at the train table playing.  This enables Jax to feel included so that when we start doing something fun, he's right there.  And if we are ever doing a project, there's Jaxon sized materials available.  By kid #3, I've got the hang of making sure everyone is included.  :)

I've done a pretty good job staying "in front" of everyone's lessons, too.  I know what's upcoming and I'm ready for it when it happens.  But as with lots of other homeschool moms, the bliss of educating kids at home  in September can fade to throwing up the white flag by February (or sooner).  :)  I'm hoping we can keep some sort of momentum.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our School Organization Binder

Update: November 1, 2013
This is a post from last year, but I still use the same binder.  The changes this year are that I have a 5th grader and 1st grader.  My older son's assignment sheet is still the same as shown below.  My middle son (the 1st grader) has a similar assignment sheet, but it's not as full.  I've tried several different ways to schedule assignments, but nothing works as well as this set-up has so I keep coming back.  You know, if it's not broke, I have no idea why I'm trying to fix it! :)

When using an online curriculum, it can feel as though you aren't as involved with your child's education as you might be if you were teaching him with textbooks.  Well, it doesn't have to be that way.  So I could stay on top of Adisson's assignments and know what he's currently learning, I've set up a School Assignment Binder.  It allows him independence and gives me a way to stay very active in his education.

(Note: In the following binder description, I refer to only Adisson's (my fourth grader) assignments.  I do currently have a Kindergartener, Zander, as well, but I stay right by him when he's doing his school work.  My older son likes a more solo approach to his online classes.)

I've made up an assignment worksheet for Adisson.  On Sunday night, I go through his lessons and write down what lesson(s) he is supposed to do in each subject on each day.  I feel at his age (nearly 10), I'd like for him to have some accountability for his progress throughout the day and week.  He's free to work ahead, but he rarely does.  :)

I put the assignment page in our school binder.  I also click through the lessons online so I have an idea of what is upcoming.  Is there a worksheet I need to print off?  Is there an experiment or project we're going to do and I need to gather/purchase supplies?  Are there books I would like to have on hand to discuss a topic further?  I do as much advance prep as I can.  It doesn't take me long (usually around 30 minutes) but this step helps keep both of us on track all week.  

Each subject has a binder tab (Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Spelling, Math, Science, Social Studies) and the first thing in that tab are lesson plans printed directly from Time4Learning (T4L).  This was someone else's idea and I adapted it for our needs.  Is it completely necessary?  Not really, as that information is always available online, but I'm still a hands-on kind of person when it comes to record keeping.  I check off what we have completed and record his lesson quiz scores.

Behind each subject's lesson plans there are two colored page dividers.  One is labeled "Upcoming Assignments" and the other is labeled "Completed Assignments".  If there is a worksheet provided through T4L or one that I have found online that complements the current topic, I hole punch it and add it to the "Upcoming Assignments" section.  A sticky-note is placed on the page to designate which day it is to be completed.  Completed assignments are held in the binder for a few weeks and then transferred to a separate one so as not to weigh our daily use binder.

At the back of the binder, I have a tab for Progress Reports.  At the end of the week, I print out a worksheet of the week's quiz scores.  When showing my husband what the boys have been up to for the week, I include their completed worksheets and quiz scores.  This way, even though he can't always be a part of our day-to-day schooling, he's still involved with what the boys are doing.

Time4Learning has a feature that allows me to print off a report of quiz scores for the week.

So, nothing super intense, just a way to organize the things that are upcoming and keep track of what's been completed.  It's still very early in the year but it's working really well so far.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Homeschool Room!

The view from the doorway.

Our bookshelves.

The "school side" of the room.

The reading teepee. :)

Inside the reading teepee.

The cozy couch and my maps!

The "play side" of the room, along with someone playing!! :)

Door organization and our boards.

The boys school table, and whatever else they need a flat surface for. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homeschool Year

My first homeschool blog! :)  I've been blogging for awhile at my personal blog, but decided this year that we'd try a homeschool "only" blog.  I say "only" because, as you know, life all mixes together.  We've been an Army family for over 9 years and have homeschooled from the start.  Adisson, our oldest son, is entering the fourth grade this year.  Zander, our middle son, is starting Kindergarten!!  Jaxon, our little ball of energy is 2 years old and will be tagging along for the fun of it!!

What curriculum do we use?

We use Time4Learning as our core curriculum.  It's a great, computer based program that covers Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science.  Both boys will use it this year.  Adisson likes that he has some control over his lessons and that he can work independently.  I like to be nearby, especially when he's covering new topics, so I can be available for questions and so I can stay updated on what he's learning.

Spelling City
This is a sister site to Time4Learning that we use for Spelling.  Another T4L user has already set up the spelling lists by each grade so all the work is pretty much done for me.  Adisson then has to head over to Spelling City, find his list for the week, and work on his assignment.  We review orally and he will write out his list by hand at least once per week.  I don't want to skip over handwriting altogether even though we are using a computer-based curriculum.

Cub Scouts
I know what you're thinking, Cub Scouts isn't a homeschool curriculum.  And you're right.  However, we are VERY active in Cub Scouts.  Adam and I are Den Leaders for Adisson's Den so we're all busy with Scouts!  But there's so much stuff that they do, work on, learn, etc. that it has become one of the funnest parts of our homeschool.  Adisson is able to spend some time during the day to work on different activities that are very educational and also earn him recognition with Scouts, so it's totally a win-win.  Plus, it's really fun!! :)

Pianimals is a fun, learn to play piano at home program that we heard about online somewhere.  Adisson really likes it. It can be a little "baby-ish" for him now as a fourth grader, but he doesn't deny the ease of use and how it's not difficult to learn a new piece of music because of the way it's presented.  We've talked about him taking piano lessons, but right now, he doesn't seem that interested.  I guess we'll just stick with what he's already using.