Monday, April 28, 2014

Kindergarten, Week 35: Our Penultimate Week!

     ONE.  MORE.  WEEK.

     I cannot believe that there is only one more week of our first year of homeschooling.  It just went by so fast!  Just this past Saturday we attended our Classical Conversations end-of-the-year celebration (which ended right before Spring Break started).  I remember last year's celebration and can't believe it's come around again.  Now, I find it implausible that we are nearing the end of Kindergarten.  I say this, despite all the preparations and research I've already been doing for the Fall.  There is a very high likelihood that I will homeschool our son come the next school year.  We have one last meeting in a week or so and are continuing to pray for guidance and answers.  My investigation into different programs has narrowed down my curriculum, and with God's guidance (more than anything else) I am prepared to homeschool both kids and I am excited about it!

     This week we continued reading about Paul in the Bible.  My daughter likes that the origins of many of the books in the New Testament came from Paul and the cities he visited.  For example, I explained that the book Corinthians was written by Paul to the people of Corinth and that my favorite verse, Philippians 4:13, came from his letters sent to Philippi!  She was amazed to hear that, plus seeing the map of his journeys helped her see how far he was willing to go to bring the Good News to the Gentiles.

     I haven't written much about math, simply because at this age, it's not too exciting.  My daughter loves math and our math lessons have now become math drills.  The program we're using was a bit short on practice so I used Super Teacher Worksheets to create sheets for her to complete and to reinforce what she learned.

Super Teacher Worksheet made just for my Little Toughie

     I was using the above referenced site and liked that I could personalize it.  However, a fellow homeschooling mom (who used to be a public school teacher) recommended that I use sheets where the math problems are horizontal rather than vertical (pictured above) as much as possible, especially when it's simple single digit addition and subtraction.  She explained that this will assist them more when doing algebraic work in the future.  She also recommended creating my own flashcards, writing addition facts horizontally, rather than vertically.  Since learning the tricks of the trade I began using The Math Worksheet Site which allows you to choose a vertical or horizontal layout.  I don't get to personalize it, but it will help with her math facts memorization and as my friend stated, it will assist with her ability to read and solve algebra problems later on.  We also use an online program that she absolutely loves (which I will review in a few weeks).  I only use it because once she gets done with her worksheets she wants to do more and this site doesn't use a lot of graphics or music or anything game like.  It's very simple and straightforward and once again, the math basic math problems are horizontal.

     We also began a new book titled The Hundred Dresses which touches on teasing others and the effect it has.  I've taught both of my kids to stand up for themselves should they encounter someone who picks on them and I'm trying to teach them what to do if they witness someone else being bullied.  I can only pray for God's protection over them and that the Holy Spirit guide them throughout their day.

     With that, I bid you farewell.  This is our last week, a busy one at that since my daughter is also in a production of The Wizard of Oz (Have I ever mentioned that she LOVES stage performances and was excited to be in this one?) and this week is chock full of rehearsals and late nights.  I'll write about that another time.  Ciao for now!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kindergarten, Week 34 and Spring Break

     Oh, goodness!  Two more school weeks and we will be done.  I read through bits of the beginning of this blog and saw how much time I had early on to even write about things outside of our curriculum, but still part of our homeschool.  Not so much as the year is coming to an end.  The last 3 months have been inundated with activities and appointments for both kids and meetings for me.  It's been one thing after another and my documenting duties have fallen to the bottom of my to-do list.

     I'm okay with that.  I know I can't do it all (as much as I try to), but I do what matters first.  I'm called to carry on the work that God has began in me and it is my duty to pass that on to my kids.  If I don't get to blog because my Little Toughie asks questions about the Bible story we're reading and we spend more time than expected in discussion, then I'm okay with that.  If I have to condense two weeks of writing because my kids are enjoying the sunshine while playing with their friends, exhibiting kindness and patience, then I'm okay with that.  While this started as a blog to document (as much as possible) our first year of homeschooling, it has helped to serve as reminder that at the center of it all is our Lord and Savior.  In all things, He comes first.

     In Week 34 we began reading about the Apostle Paul (my favorite).  We have a map that traces all of his missionary routes so we used it while reading how Paul shared the Gospel from one city to the next.  While listening to one of my favorite worship songs ("Redeemed") the lyrics, "I'm not who I used to be" played.  My daughter yelled out, "Like Paul!"  She knows the story of how and why Saul became Paul.  This was first introduced to her last year during VBS; when Paul and the work he did in Athens was the focus.  I'm so happy that it has stuck with her!

     We also began a new book, Dolphin Treasure.  We read Dolphin Adventure in Week 4.  My son was still on Summer Break at that point, so he was able to hear that story.  Dolphin Treasure is a another story by Wayne Grover in which he shares his experience with the same dolphin from Dolphin Adventure.  My daughter was delighted to hear that the dolphin was still around.  She has such a heart for animals and the homeless.

     A couple of months ago we found some toadstools growing around our tree (I learned that this is a sign that our grass is too wet, which makes sense since they started popping up after we had a lot of rain.)  My daughter knows these are not edible and that some mushrooms are poisonous.  This prompted her to start pulling them and tossing them in the compost bin because (and I'm quoting her), "I don't want the homeless people to think it's food and eat it and die."  This is also why every month we prepare two care packages to pass out.

     When this week concluded we began our Spring Break.  My Little Toughie wanted to share the same Spring Break week as her big brother.  Unfortunately, Spring Break kicked off with a 4 a.m. trip to the airport.  My husband was gone all week on business.  Of course, since my timing is impeccable, I started to feel sick once we got home for our early excursion.  My head started throbbing and I started to sniffle.  By the time evening came around I was fully congested and exhausted.  I did all the things I knew to do (for myself) to get better quickly and by Wednesday I was feeling halfway decent.  We even made chocolate chip cookies for a playdate later that day.

     These aren't Paleo, but it's been a very long time since I've made chocolate chip cookies, Paleo or otherwise, and my kids really wanted to make something for their friends.  We still have a batch waiting in the freezer, ready to go for when the call for cookies come!

     My sister and nephew visited and luckily I was feeling better.  Not as energetic, but at least I wasn't stuffy anymore.  It was a wonderful visit and I'm glad my husband got back safely and in time to spend a couple of days with them as well.

     That wraps up the last two weeks.  Week 35 is just around the corner!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kindergarten, Week 33

     Three more weeks!  Just three more weeks and our first year of homeschooling will be done.  Well, actually 4 more weeks because we're taking one week off for Spring Break.  I tried to convince my daughter to just push through but my Little Toughie wanted to take the same week off as her big brother and so it will be.

     This week we finished The Story of Dr. Doolittle.  It was such a wonderful read, even with the editing done by the publisher.  My daughter and I enjoyed this one very much.  The next book will have to be really interesting to top this one.

     We also took a field trip this week.  Our Classical Conversations group headed out to a local museum.  It was a perfect day for this outing.  At one point we stopped and looked at Renaissance furniture.  We happened upon a huge Baroque style bed.  The kids were given a picture and crayons to color their own bed.

     Below is her finished piece:

     This week we also began our exploration into space.  We started off with studying space shuttles and the gear astronauts have to wear in order to make their journey along with the equipment needed.  We have a toy from our trip last year to see the Endeavour which we used with our reading.

     That's all for this week!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Curriculum Review: Time4Learning

     I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening.

     Time4Learning is on online educational curriculum and I'm excited to try it out, as I'm in the process of learning the best teaching methods for my kids, but especially my son, who has special needs.

     I'll share my thoughts at the end of the month!