Our School Day Switch up!

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Since the beginning of the school year {August 2012} We have had the same schedule 9am-3pm with breaks every 3 subjects/projects. Guess how many times we actually completed the entire days work? VERY seldom. We would start every day out with momentum and excitement but after that first break it was like pulling teeth…the day would quickly go from happiness and excitement to groans of annoyance and cries of frustration. What’s a mama to do? In November/December I reevaluated our school day work load. I also incorporated new fun learning games, like Time Bingo, a game called Pizza Party that is all about fractions, and other fun games. That really seemed to help…we were getting more than 50% done, heck I’ll take that! Now it was the coming back to the school room after lunch that was the problem…it was a BIG problem. I needed a change!

In Late December I was chatting with a few other Homeschool moms and the “What’s your school day look like” question came up. There were a HUGE range of responses…everything from 8am -2pm to 1pm -5pm and everything in between. One of my very dear friends response was very interesting…it was EXACTLY what I had been toying with starting! Her kiddos do school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am-12pm {Our kids go to the same program on Thursdays!}  I was so excited to chat with her and tell her that I was planning the following Monday to begin 8am-11pm! She was VERY encouraging and gave me a little bit of a break down of her day.

Here is a very basic break down of our day

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This is our regular schedule, however some days we switch it around and do Math first, then History, then reading.

Since we started this new schedule we have finish 100% of the planned school work…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!! YAY!

I asked my 8 year old son what he thought of our new schedule and he told me that he loves it! Having our school day starting and ending all before lunch has opened up so much more time to do things as a family. We are going on family daily walks after lunch {my hubby works from home} we are able to have playdates and field trips without the worry of interfering with our school day! And for me personally…I’m able to to read and actually do my bible study homework! I can even run on the treadmill!  It has been so wonderful for us!

So what about you? What does your school day look like?

Smiles & Blessings

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Getting back into the swing of things…

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If you are like me then January is the “getting back on track” month after the Christmas season! I go through this every year. Sometimes it can be hard to re-implement the school day after it has been weeks of…well no school! Here are a few tips that have worked for me!

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Resume Regular Scheduled Programming:
Are you like me and have a homeschool day schedule that works great for you? I have worked very hard to create a day that will keep my kids eager and engaged! For our home it is very important to resume our regular day as soon as January begins! I have found in past years if I drift from the schedule Elias is used to it just adds more stress and drama!

A Lighter Load:
After resuming our schedule I do make a few changes for the first week or two in January.

For the first week I cut each subject in half, this works great! (example: instead of the regular 2 chapters in History we’ll do one. We will have 2 worksheets in Explode the Code rather than 4) Elias doesn’t feel overwhelmed and it helps revive routine!

I focus on non electronic subjects. I steer away from the iPad and computer for that first week! If your kids are anything like mine Christmas break involved more than their fair share of video games!

Electronic Free School Room:
This is VERY important for my family! It is too easy for preschoolers and a grade schooler to get distracted! We have a separate homeschool room in our house so it is easy for us to leave the iPad, cell phones, iPods, DS, ect upstairs! If you do not have a separate school room I would highly recommend an “electronics basket” large enough to keep all your family’s distracting electronics in! Then put the basket in your room…out of site out of mind!

I do have designated game times in our school day! DS time is only about 45 minutes in the whole school day (broken in to short game times) Obviously game time something that you have to decide for your family!

Limit Activities:
Limiting our outside the home activities is curtail for us in January! Our kids have been going going going since Thanksgiving and it is time for a slow down! In January we have two things outside the home…Homelink and AWANA!

Family Time:
Lastly, I think that ending the school day with family fun hour is so important! It doesn’t matter the game the location…just that you are doing it as a family! (example: today there is snow…a whole lot of snow…there a lot of fun out there just waiting for the end of the day!)

Please feel free to download my Homeschool Planner! I have gotten great feedback! It has really helped other moms on track!!

Flourishing or Failing?

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When it comes to Homeschool moms we often put ourselves in one of two categories…Either we are flourishing or we are failing as the teacher.  We are guilty of comparing ourselves with EVERY single homeschool mom we know! I’m completely guilty of this! There are weeks when we are at Homelink {Our co-op type group} and I see these other moms preparing for the next week surrounded by school books and calendars and I think ‘Ok, I am so far behind. I’m failing’ In reality I know that I’m not! In fact have a schedule {ha a laugh when I write “I” and  “schedule” together…FYI organization is NOT my middle name…not even close} ok back to what I was saying! I have a schedule that I like and works very well for us! However, when you are in that moment and you are talking with other moms who seem like that are so on their game it is so easy to feel like you just aren’t measuring up. Why?!? Her kids are not my kids! I know the way my kids learning and chances are they are totally different then her kids.
Is it really true…are we either Flourishing or Failing? How are we gauging this? Is comparing our kids to another moms kids, comparing our school week to someones else really going to give us a clear answer?
Recently I was chatted with a few ‘Teacher Mom’ friends of mine. I asked what the average week looks like in their home….
Teacher Mom #1 “We get up, the kids eat, they play! We do some math and reading, then they play. Later we do some history and science, then they play. Ending our day with some spelling and writing.”
Teacher Mom #2“7am is breakfast, then we spend anywhere from 45 mins to 1 hour per subject with lunch at noon. ending our school day at 2:30-3:00”
Teacher Mom #3“There is NO schedule, every day is different, every week is different.”
Teacher Mom #4 “5 subjects per day, they vary. We play games, do art projects, I read them books. We try to make every subject engaging!”Which of these moms is doing it right? Could they all be doing it right even though they are nothing alike? Yes! I think so! Something that my mom loved about homeschooling was the freedom to teach your child in the way that works best for that child! That is what I love about homeschooling! 
Oh! by the way EVERY single one of the moms above told me that they have some much fun and so do their kids!!
Homeschooling for our family is to instill a LOVE for learning! That love that I have and that I know a lot of you have as well. I don’t want to ever hear my kids say “NO not Math” or “I hate reading” because of that it is my job to create a environment where my children are excited about learning! Where they can thrive and flourish! 
There are so many different ways to achieve this!
What’s your Style?

  • Eclectic {using two or more styles

  • Charlotte Mason Method
  • Classical {the classical approach to homeschooling}
  • Uncschooled {child-led schooling approach}
  • Traditional {aka Text Book}
…or you do something totally different! 
 
Are your kids learning? Are your kids having fun? Are you having fun and enjoying it? 
 
GUESS WHAT!?!?! You ARE Flourishing! NOT FAILING!
 
It DOESN’T matter if your friend Sally is on such a schedule that it put ship captains to shame. 
It DOESN’T matter if your friend June is disorganized and rarely has a schedule.
 
What DOES matter is that your child and you are sharing a love for learning…how ever you get to that point is up to you! 

Flourish on Mama! Flourish on!

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2012-2013 Curriculum!


Last week we started school…2nd grade….WHAT 2ND GRADE already!?!?!? I cannot believe how fast my little man is growing up!

Smile on his face for the 1st day of school {last monday} This boy loves to learn!!!

Here is a small over view of SOME of this years curriculum! There will be a larger more in-depth post with my thoughts of each book and why we selected what we selected coming soon! 🙂 Until then here are some of the books and the links to where you can find out more and order!!

Explode the Code’s child-drawn illustrations and easy, repetitive exercises provide a friendly learning experience. Progressively building up a store of phonics recognition, pronunciation and reading skills, your students will soon be on their way to acquiring beginning to intermediate reading skills. Explode the Code’s phonics workbooks contain exercises that guide students through matching, reading, spelling, writing, copying, and more. Easy, fun and proven, Explode the Code is a favorite with moms and kids!

The Story of the World is an award-winning resource for families looking for a history curriculum they can fall in love with. Told in the straightforward, engaging style that has become Susan Wise Bauer’s trademark, this four-volume set covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas — find out what happened all around the world in long-ago times. This read-aloud series is designed for parents and teachers to share with elementary school children. Enjoy it together and introduce your child to the marvelous story of the the world’s civilizations.




Who is Fred?
Answer #1
In one of the Life of Fred books, Fred Gauss was born on the western slopes of the Siberian mountains. By the end of the final book, he is six years old.
In his everyday life he first encounters the need for each new part of mathematics, and then comes the mathematics.
Never again will students have to ask their perennial question: “When are we ever gonna use this stuff?”
Answer #2
Stan Schmidt, the author of the Life of Fred series, became a full-time high school teacher the month he turned 22.
In his first semester of teaching, Stan drew Fred on the blackboard.
It was just a brief appearance: Fred was going fishing.
Then Fred appeared in other examples, and soon became a regular part of the classroom experience. One student in metal shop made a Fred Gauss belt buckle and gave it to Stan.
When Stan switched to college teaching, Fred came along with him. Fred’s biography continued to develop.
After eleven years of college teaching, Stan “retired himself” to an A-frame on six acres in the woods outside of Santa Rosa, California—waiting to find out what God wanted him to do next.
Eighteen years later, now living in Reno, he began writing the Life of Fred series. Two hours each day, starting at 4 a.m., Stan and Fred work on the next book. To be more accurate it should be pointed out that technically, Stan is a co-author since Fred is very much involved. It takes a rambunctious, full of energy at four o’clock in the morning child to get the day rolling that early!

The reason we study math is so we can apply what we learn in everyday situations. The students learn their math facts, rules, and formulas, and are able to use this knowledge in real life applications. The study of math is much more than committing a list of facts to memory. It includes memorization, but it also encompasses learning the concepts that are critical to problem solving.

 Patterns of Nature consists of 30 lessons bound in an illustrated workbook. Science, at this level, mainly involves identification. Such subjects as seasons, seeds, wildflowers, weeds, trees, mammals, insects, songbirds, and the celestial bodies are introduced on the child’s level.



In addition we will also be involved in Soccer, Martial Arts, & Music Lessons…Plus there are some awesome field trips in the works!!

Smiles,
Britni

Homeschooling: Kindergarten – 1st grade – 2nd grade year has started!!!

We homeschool!! We LOVE it!

 

I LOVE flashcard! We can take these anywhere!! E loves them too!

alilsugarnspice@gmail.com

 

Please Email with any questions about the books or flash cards I have posted today!

The many books I have added E’s homeschool curriculum!!

Since the Public school year has begun, people are always asking Elias if he has started school. He always replies “Yes!! I am homeschooled by my Mommy”. Oh, the looks we get. Sometimes they smile, but other times….Ahhhh, not so much. The other day I ran into another Homeschooling Mama, and she asked “what curriculum are you using?” I don’t think she liked my response, but thats ok. We all have to do what is right for our own children.
We officially started the school year on August 1st! I has been going great! Elias is so eager to learn. Before we began I hoped that we would do 45 minutes of work at a time with a 15 minute break between each activity. I didn’t want to overload him and them him end up dreading school. Much to my surprise we spend a average of 2 hours at a time on each subject (different ones each day…a max of 4) I couldn’t have asked for a better little student! This year I decided to combine Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grades. Now, a month later our main focus seems to be more at the 1st-3rd levels!!!
Some of the things we have been learning:
reading,
addition,
subtraction,
the pledge of allegiance,
homonyms,
states and capitals (not all of course),
the planets
Still to come for the Fall season:
Thanksgiving, a one month study of Native Americans, for this we will focus on the Choctaw and Black Foot tribes (I am 1/16 Choctaw).
We will also do all kinds of fun activities dealing with:
Mammals,
Weather,
Seasons, and
Christmas…the Birth of Jesus, and what Christmas is all about.
Outside of the “regular” subjects, we will be working on:
Manners,
Respect,
Honesty,
Building Character,
Loving Family, and
Bible Study!
I made the decision early on that I would put together our curriculum, piece by piece! Over the last few months, and have put together what I believe to be a awesome school year plan!

Visit the Homeschool Tab for tons of Free homeschool Printables and links!