Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Twist on Science~

We have finally come to an end of the Apologia Science book
and needed another idea without spending money on more curriculum SO~
 I pulled out our copy of The Burgess Animal Book for Children
and read the first story about a wren and rabbit.
My children LOVE any about animals so they were all in!
As we read the story, we learned new things we didn't know about the animals.
I was looking for a passage we could use for copy work as I read to them.
I found a quick YouTube video to watch then went to work~

 The bigger girls were on their own copying and illustrating their passage.
The little kids had a little drawing lesson and copied the main characters in their journals~
I think this is going to be a fun way to learn about animals and check off the science box as well!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Another Reading Idea~

I have a classroom set of magnetic letters and these little containers from IKEA
so I wrote two words on each lid then placed the letters inside to make the words~
 I hung them on the side of this awesome rolling cart from IKEA as well.
In each basket on the cart, I placed materials I would need to read aloud
as well as read with each child sometime during the day~
 I don't really stress 'word work', but I do think if you put a fun activity out for them to choose,
it is very likely they will learn while they are 'playing'~
The boys are reading their sight words everywhere, and they are so excited about it,
the little girls are becoming interested as well!!!
Win win!!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Teach a Child to Read~

Being a teacher my whole adult life has given me thousands of opportunities to teach a million different skills.
One of the most rewarding and exciting is teaching a child to read.
There are as many ways to teach a child as there are books for them to read.

I am coming to realize the later I wait to begin formal reading lessons, the quicker they catch on and the hungrier they are to try.

Just this past weekend, Evie came down early one morning holding a chapter book saying she really wanted to read just like her big sisters.

I decided to empower her and this is how I did it~

 I wrote the word 'and' on a post it note with 5 little bookmark tags attached~

 I challenged her to pick a page and search for the word.
When she found it, she would mark it with a tag and look for it again.
This went on and on and on~
 The key was to meet her where she was, and go with it.
She now knows the word 'and' in other places too so she believes she is a reader!

Half the battle to reading is enthusiasm and I wasn't about to squelch it!!!

The other thing I have come to realize is, they will listen to a story anytime, anywhere and these are the books we are reading right now~
 Yes, all of them at the same time during various lessons or times of the day.
They are able to remember what we read last and predict what is coming.

All this reading spills into their play too~
{Searching for things like Pippi Longstocking: Thing Finders}
 Every child is different and allowing them to mature on their own time table
sure makes relationship building all the more sweeter.
And THAT sums up the beauty of home schooling in a nutshell!!!

Very Last First Time~ {FIAR}

Our FIAR row is Very Last First Time this week, and it is such a great one with the snow we just experienced.
Our first day is always a day of reading the book and a geography lesson.
Today we also watched a video about life as an Inuit in Canada~
 Then taking our new info, we moved into the kitchen to draw and watercolor beautiful masterpieces~
 I also wanted to document {Work} Evie asked to do~
AND the big girls have begun writing in cursive in most of their school work
so I wanted to document it here on the blog!!!
Good job girls~ SO awesome!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Just Let Them Mess~

Evie is a master at making a mess masterpiece and for the most part, I let her.
She absolutely LOVES paint, glue, and tape.
They have a white table in the school room where they are forever creating
and over the last few weeks, it has gotten caked with all the art supplies~
 Now just as much as Evie loves to mess, she does not enjoy cleaning but she does give in.
Today I gave them the most FUN way to clean by spraying shaving cream and letting them play~
 I also opened the cabinet with the alphabet and they wrote letters, numbers, and drew pictures
all the time cleaning while they played~
 After they had cleaned played their hearts out, I scraped the table with my spatula~
And ended up with a pearly white clean table.
I took a photo because it won't last long, but that's okay!
Just let them mess!
They are only kids for a little while!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Parapro~

It is impossible to be with 6 children schooling at the same time
and it is those times I am so thankful when one steps in to help another~
Yesterday we had eye appts so we did our bookwork before leaving.
There are many clothes to put on and hair to fix and I need to time to get ready
so SJ stepped in to call spelling words for the boys.
As they mature and grow, some of the educating can be shared.
I am thankful for my parapros!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Bitties and an Activity~

About two weeks ago, I took Evie to Barnes and Noble to choose a book for her gotcha day~
She chose a thick anthology of rhymes and stories just right for her and Holly.

Each day I have been reading to them from the book,
 and today Evie remembered we had a listening book that matched our story, The Three Little Pigs~
Amy and I gave each other's children 6 of these Fairy Tale Flip Books for Christmas and we LOVE them!

Evie and Holly loved listening to the story together~
 And then I asked them to narrate.
 I loved the way they used various voices for different pigs... SO good!
Next was Evie's daily INFAMOUS words...
"I want an activity mama" and thankfully I had just the thing in that old filing cabinet in the garage~
The girls traced, cut, and created their own little pigs.
I am trying to figure out how to share my patterns and ideas.
Would love to open a little school store if I could figure it out.
Share if you know.

Friday, January 15, 2016


As I have schooled the last few years, I thought we needed a handwriting curriculum to practice.
This past year I decided a printed handwriting curriculum was just NOT necessary.

In using this American History, there are little snippets to copy and I am using them for handwriting practice~
After all, what is the sole purpose of handwriting?... So it can be read for communication and if we can read it, task done.
It will improve with real writing, not superficial work that is boring and unnecessary.

 I DO think cursive practice is important and for that we used Handwriting without Tears
but now that the letters are learned, we practice with Real Writing~
Above you will see how I write for the older ones to copy and Holly is still tracing.
Giving children real reasons to write allows them practice and time to improve.
Completing two tasks in one and giving more time to play!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Count von Count~

We have a Count von Count in the family.
Payne announced in his usual very confident voice that he could count to 30.
We gave him the challenge and I said keeping going.
With each set of 10 he hit, his face grew more surprised until~
He couldn't believe he did it and all day long I heard him counting under his breath.
By night he was announcing he thought he could make it to 200.
I'm sure he can and already wondering about 1000. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Morning Basket~

The BEST resource for Morning Basket is HERE but this is my version~
The thinking behind this basket is having everything you will begin you day with in a central place.

It is also a tangible way to see what's been done and what's left.

In my basket (which was made by Scott in middle school woodshop class), I have~

  • Bible and devotional
  • FIAR book (activity for the day on a sticky)
  • Poetry
  • History/Geography
  • Science book
  • Math Game
  • Chapter book for now
  • IPad for YouTube or Google
When I first began this routine, I tried to make it through everything in the basket
but then we didn't get to anything else.
Then I tried just doing what we could for a period of time then stopping but then I had to find my place.
SO now we have a Morning Basket Schedule:
  • Monday~ Bible, Devo, FIAR, History (Geography- afternoon with bigs)
  • Tuesday~ Bible, Devo, Poetry, Science(Geography- afternoon with bigs)
  • Wednesday~ Bible, Devo, FIAR, History, (Geography- afternoon with bigs)
  • Thursday~ Bible, Devo, Music, Science, (Geography- afternoon with bigs)
  • Friday~ Bible, Devo, FIAR, Cooking, Art
Table Work alternates with Journal Writing and Math is Daily

This routine for January has been simple and manageable. I read a beautiful quote while reading Teaching From Rest which you HAVE to read~
"School is not about school. Homeschool is not about school. It's about pursuing wisdom; it's about becoming virtuous beings; it's about soul transformation." ~Andrew Kern

I couldn't help but think this SO true when I walked in the sunroom to find EK
enthralled in the 4th book of a series she is reading~
There is nothing more important to me than my children knowing Jesus
and growing closer to Him.
I am SO thankful to have days, weeks, months, and years of time of impression and guidance.
Growing Whole Hearts!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Good Strategy for Teaching New Games~

We have had this Sudoku game for a while and the big girls are pretty good at it~
so I decided I would pull it out and try it as a group game~
 Each one chose their favorite color and was in charge of placing it on the board~
 The big girls helped the littles learn many of the strategies and it was amazing to watch it happen~
I think by playing it as a group and supporting the thinking gives more chance of success.
Such a great brain building problem solving game!!!
{We LOVE the unifix cubes too!}

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mirette on the High Wire~ {FIAR}

We love starting our mornings reading the bible and God's Love For You is our fav devo.
Today we read about Jesus calling His disciples and discussed this truth~
The people Jesus called to be His special helpers were just regular people...
just like them~
 Right after the bible story, we read a real story about an ordinary lady
who made a huge difference for a family in Ethiopia.
It's awesome to be able to reinforce Geography and learn interesting facts about the country~
We talked about the great plans God has for their lives and
they remembered I have a Bible with Chinese translation and they wanted to see 'Their' language. :)

Next we watched out NewSpring videos and everyone was really into the Robot Rock~

Finally we read our FIAR book, Mirette on the High Wire.
I have skipped over this book so many times thinking the kids wouldn't really like it
but I was very wrong!!!
They loved it as we practiced walking our own tight ropes and turning summersaults~
Lastly we found a video about the real character, Blondin, the book was about
and learned all about Niagara Falls.
It was a fun book and look forward to reading it again. :)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fun Friday~ {The Sun, Earth, & Moon}

Today for Fun Friday, we decided to take a rabbit trail to learn about our solar system.
Payne is SO into space right now with his new rocket from Christmas and new book from Gotcha Day
so I thought it was the perfect Fun day.
I gathered our books, art materials, and science materials~
First we read about the sun, moon, and earth in the story of creation
then used household materials to act out how the earth revolves and rotates as well as the moon.
They were quite excited to help BE the sun, earth, and moon.

Payne wanted to bring his rocket and share all things he knew about space travel.
We also read lots of things in his new space book~
 Next was ART... we used a small paper plate to create the sun and covered with tissue paper.
The inside circle of a plate was cut for the earth and we painted it.
We punched circles for the moon phases and cut yellow to represent the light shining onto them~
 Lastly we labeled everything and headed to the kitchen for cooking~
 For our Cooking activity, we cut circles from bread
and painted it with blue and green milk paint making Earth Toast~
 While it baked, we opened four oreos and used knives to create the moon phases
then dropped yellow food coloring into milk to make Sun Milk~
 We enjoyed this delicious Solar System Snack before watching The Magic School Bus~
 I set up a space discovery area on the table for later fun and one by one,
I called each one over with their journals to ask what they knew about each thing~
They spoke and I wrote.
I was pretty impressed with what they all shared.
The cool thing about today was even though it was a repeat for EK/SJ,
they were excited to share their prior knowledge
helping the younger kids gain new information.
It was a win win and super fun in the process!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sunroom Learning~

During the winter months we tend to school in the SUNroom~
Keeping bodies AND hearts warm while we learn. :)

For years I used Explode the Code with all the kids but this year we are using Spelling You See
and the boys have really blossomed using it.
They are SO excited to be decoding words and reading on their own~
And look at Ms Big sitting at my desk checking their work~
The Learning is good!!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Our First Day Back in 2016~

Today was our first day back and it was really awesome.
EK and SJ were a little bummed about the bookwork they had facing them this morning
so last night I suggested they might go ahead and get it done so they wouldn't have to do it this morning~
They took the bait and were completely done in 30 minutes!

That made for a really smooth morning of reading for FIAR, Owl Moon~
 History and Geography: Leif the Lucky and Paddle to the Sea (Canada)
along with finishing up one chapter book so we could start another~

The little four began their new centers today too
and it worked beautifully having one boy work with one girl.
The boys took their leadership role so seriously and the girls were great learners~
 EK and SJ really enjoyed spending time journaling about owls today
and we actually saved Paddle to the Sea for after lunch with just EK/SJ~
The only part of the day we didn't like was dad being gone to work
but we sent him a Hi photo and look forward to him rolling back in the afternoon.
A great first day back!!!!!