Thursday, December 31, 2009

back to the basics

It has been so long since we have "done school" that I didn't realize it had been almost a month since I blogged on this blog! I have been doing lots of posts on my family blog - showing off the things I have made, pics of the boys in the snow and I have spent way too much time checking out how people decorated their houses for christmas and things they made as gifts!! I am in awe of the things that people can do and create and I just love that they are so willing to share so I can copy them!!! I have a button to our family blog on the side bar if you want to go see what I have been doing for the past month or so!
Stephen got to show off his geography skills (he has been learning in coop) to grandpa when they visited over the holidays. It was pretty neat to watch them all sit there with my dad and have a conversation about the globe and countries and whatnot! It was one of those "they are learning something" moments and it was pretty amazing!!

So - now that Christmas is over, I no longer have to work, I don't have stuff to make for the store and it feels like we are years behind in school - it is time to get back into gear for the new year!
I wanted to show you the discipline system I have used - just during school time - ever since we started homeschooling. It works REALLY well for us! I got this idea from a fellow HS mom on the internet when I was researching homeschooling and it has been a big motivator for my boys! I wish I knew where I got the idea so I could give her credit!

Each boy has 5 cards. Each card is a different color and represents 5 different things.
Blue - had a good day
Yellow - caution
Green - do an extra chore(usually something gross like toilets or baseboards)
Pink - Lose screen time for the rest of the day
Black - go to bed right after dinner

I just picked the colors at randoma nd made up the discipline that would work for my boys - you could make it anything that will have an effect on your child!
I cut strips of cardstock to fit in the envelope, laminated them and that was it! I wrote on the bottom of the card what that color means because I kept forgetting!

Hanging on the wall in the school room they each have a labeled little envelope for their cards. I am pretty sure I used library pockets as the envelope.

Only one of them has gotten to a green card. they usually get to yellow and they straighten right up! They have never gotten further than a green card!

The biggest decision I have made for this coming year - in regards to school - is that we will only go to friend's houses on fridays. We will not do any visiting during the school week. I have got to be more disciplined in reagrds to our school routine and since I am usually so quick to say 'yes, we will be right over' I am establishing a flat out rule to keep me in check! Now - I am fully aware that there will be exceptions to this rule but at least there is the rule and i am vowing to do my best to follow it! Pray for me - I love to visit with friends as much as the kids love to play! I have a couple of friends houses that i can go to and my kids will disappear with their kids and we can actually visit and enjoy each others company!! Oh it is such a beautiful thing for my kids to get along with my friends kids!! That is a God thing - for sure!!! It might be harder for me than for the kids to stick to this rule!!

I hope you all had a great New Year's Eve and will have a fantastic New Year!!

How many others are getting geared up to get back into the swing of things?? How many of you never got out of gear with the craziness of the holidays?? I get sidetracked so easy - I need to know how you stay on track!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

We filled 3 shoeboxes this year with all kinds of goodies for Operation Christmas Child. This is a program through Samaritan's Purse that sends all these shoeboxes to kids all over the world. It is truly amazing!
The boys enjoyed filling the boxes and they even wrote a note to put in their box(without complaining) for the little boy their box would go to!

What Joy it brings to a mother's heart to see her boys loving others and wanting to share Jesus with them!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas!! I love the spirit of christmas, I love making my house look as trashy as possible with as many lights as possible, I love christmas music and I love the celebration of Jesus' birth!!
2 years ago I started learning about advent and how people celebrated it and what it menat and was all about. Along this journey I was told about these books below and we absolutely love them!! In each book you follow along with each of these kids on their journey in the time of Jesus' birth. They are amazing stories rich with history and bible truths that will enhance your christmas in so many ways! Go here to read more about each of the books.
You read a chapter of the story each night of advent and at the end of each chapter are scriptures and more details of the truths in each chapter. Last year we read Jotham's Journey every night as family devotions for advent and the boys loved it. This year we will read Bartholomew's Passage and next year we will read Tabitha's Travels. If we haven't found something else we like better - we will start all over again and keep rereading them year after year!

This an out of print book that was shared with me by another family and it is another one that I just LOVE! We will be using this book along with some other crafty ideas for school during December. This book has 28 devotions for advent PLUS 12 more devotions for the 12 day christmas season starting on christmas day. Each devotion has a meditation, a prayer, bible references, some of them have book suggestions and song verses to sing or just read. I just love the way this book is written - it is short and powerful and easy to read and understand and full of info!!!

Last year I was unable to find this book but this year i found it on ebay! L. Schroeder is the author if you want to look for it!
I spent some time this summer and the past 2 months going thru a bunch of advent books I had picked up over the past 2 years looking for ideas on how to celebrate advent! From them - I took the ideas I really liked and want to implement this year into our school day and advent celebration. I will be typing this up in the next day or so - since we will be starting to study christmas and advent in a week or so - and i will be happy to share it with you all once I do!!
I would love to hear what you do to celebrate christmas and advent????

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Art Games

I saw an art 'Go Fish' game in art class at coop and I wanted one. I came home and started searching for one on the internet. These are the only ones I could find and they were about $10 a set.

I didn't want to nor could I afford to buy them so......I made my own!

As I began to make them i realized I would be much happier this way because I could do it by artist not by time period or type of art. We are studying Winslow Homer this semester so I did
him first and then I did Monet and Van Gogh for the rest of the year.
Doing art Charlotte style means we will study the same artist for 12 weeks. It will have been longer for Homer since I was working for htis first part of the year but we will get 2 artists in after christmas till the end of the year!
I found pics of the works by Homer I liked and thought the boys would like. I right clicked ont he pic and saved each one to my pics file. I then printed 2 of each picture in a wallet size. I chose 12 pictures total. I put them on an index card, labeled each picture with the artists name and title of the art piece and then laminated them. I did cut down the index card just a little and I tried my best to make them all the exact size so you could hold them for a game of 'Go fish'.
We now have a set of Homer, set of Monet and a set of Van Gogh cards that we can play 'Go Fish' or 'Matching' with!!
After we finish this year they should be able to mix up the artists and play with them like that too!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the New School Room

Last Spring I posted about our School Room and since then I have rearranged again and turned what was our living Room into our School Room. It is right off the kitchen(the old school room) and so all the bookshelves that are along the back wall in the kitchen are still there. I love the look of them and so it will be awhile before I have any thoughts of moving them!

This is what the room looks like when you look in thru the kitchen. The table is not there anymore - it took up too much space and we still do our work at the kitchen table so it is a nice open space the boys are using to build, color and leave their toys all over the place!!
The desktop got moved into this room too. It is nice that it is not in the same room as the tv now. The boys would play games and watch tv at the same time and it made me crazy!

This is our school discipline system. I have used this from the beginning(2 years ago)with the boys and it is only for school times. I got it off the internet or out of a magazine somewhere and I do not remember where so I am sorry i can't guide you to the original idea.
Each boy has an envelope on the wall with all 5 of their cards in it. They start out each day with a Blue card.
Blue - Good Day
Yellow - Caution
Green - Extra Chore
Pink - loose Screen
Black - go to bed early
This system has worked so well for us. It is clear what the consequences are and it is so easy for me to use! They have never gotten to pink and only to green a time or two. It is usually enough to just get yellow and they are good! The extra chore is something gross or time consuming - cleaning all the cabinet doors is my favorite right now!

The inside of the doorway has a bookshelf on either side of it. The alphabet cards are sticky tacked to the inside of the doorway(since it doesn't have an actual door). On the wall I have the calendar and the Family Prayer stuff tacked up. Their is usually a picture of the family members we are praying for where the black is and around it are verses about prayer.
Above that I have posted our Family Rules!
This space has been working really well for us and my hubby is so very happy that the kitchen table is no longer covered in books and projects when we sit down to eat!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

miss you

My life has gone from busy to crazy to overwhelming in a matter of days! I started back to working a couple days a week - which will get to be more once nov. gets here and christmas shopping starts full on!
I have really struggled with doing school on the days that i work but I have been able to do 'some' school more often than not and I am okay with that right now. When I work nights it is easier becasue our morning routine doesn't change much. Working mornings and then coming home and trying to do school is hard! The boys are excited for me to be home, they have been playing and want nothing to do with sitting down and doing school! So far I have been able to do little bits and pieces here and there but I am definately not able to get it all done!
Our Sundays have completely been sucked up by helping out at both servcies on Sunday in the Sunday School - which puts us home about 1:00. We then have to turn around and take Alex back to church at 500 for youth group. Because we live 30 minutes from church we stay in town and do groceries or just sit around and do some schoolwork int he car while I wait for him to be done at about 830!
Alex is also busy with stuff at school that doesn't necesarily require us but it is a part of our life!
We have coop every Friday morning which is exhausting for everyone!
Thursday night my husband and I are taking an Alpha class at church - phenomenal class and speaker if you ever have the chance to take it! It is kindof our 'date night'.
I have started selling some of my 'stuff' at a local coffee shop so I have to do some painting for that about once a week.
In between all that foolishness the boys want to play with friends occassionally, meals have to be made, the house has to be cleaned, clothes have to be washed, boys have to be played with, school has to be prepared and hubby has to be loved!
I have no idea how we got ourselves into this craziness but it seems like it always happens to us in the fall - every year! By January things have cooled off a little bit but then sports start....

So... the gist of all this is - don't expect to hear much from me - on a regular basis - for awhile! I do so miss you girls and I miss reading other blogs as well as writing on my own!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I thought we would just read and learn about different things from the ton of Science books I have around the house - Magic School Bus & the Lets Read & Find Out books.

I had to change my mind as we started doing this whole CM style of schooling. We do so much reading in all the other areas and the boys do so love to do experiments that I felt we needed to do Real Science instead. I read about the Apologia Elementary books, then borrowed the Flying Creatures from a friend to glance thru and see how the lessons are laid out and I was sold! Jeannie Fulbright writes with a Charlotte Mason style and the lessons seem to be so interesting, simple and fun that I broke down and ordered Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day *cheap*!!

The boys chose the Swimming animals over the Flying or Land animals!
It came tonight while I was at work and I can't wait to look through it - a little bedtime reading for mommy tonight!
I also found out that you can buy lab kits for the apologia sciences here so you don't have to scrounge around looking for that item you thought you had but you can't find and you need it for today's lesson! That will have to be me though because we can't buy the lab kit right now!!
I would love to know if any of you have done this science or have heard anything about it???
off to bed now........

Friday, September 18, 2009

We are Lovin' Charlotte

We have now had 2 Full weeks the Charlotte Mason way and it has been quite successful and fun. I actually felt good about school and didn't feel like a total failure because I didn't do this workbook page or read that page or finish everything the 'TM' told me to do! We got thru everything in short bits and pieces that really worked and kept the boys on task.

This is what our days have looked like so far:
Bible - read a chap from The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos

we have really enjoyed the story format of this book.


Review our Memory Verse - John 15:7

Family Prayer - we are praying for Grandma & Grandpa for 2 weeks

Math - we go to the table in the school room and we are trying to do it together. I sit between them and give them each direction and they can ask questions as they need to or I will help them as needed. Seems to be working! Previously I was working with each one seperately so this is different for us. This is the only place we use worksheets for now!

Phonics - we sit down with the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and do the next lesson. Stephen also has to do read some on his own which he does while I am doing phonics with Ben. This cannot be done together becasue they are both on different lessons and we use the same book for both boys!

Reading - Paddle to the Sea and some geography stuff(I found online) that goes along with the book. We do 2-3 chapters a week so it is not everyday!

History - World History is 2 days and American is 2 days. For world we just got 'A Child's History of the World' by Hillyer and started it this week. We like it so far. The beginning was total evolution so we didn't read it but we talked about why we didn't read it! They know the drill by now - it is kindof cute!
For American we started out using 'This Country of Ours' but I thought it was just too much info and the boys really want to get past the stuff we did last year and move on to the American Revolution.
So we switched to 'A Childs Story of America' and will read thru certain chapters till we get to where we left off last year and then we will slow down and read some Living Books and a mix of CSA to finish out the year. I have a lot of books on the shelf for us to read so we will be quite busy with History till the end of the year!
the Arts - each day is different - composer, artist, hymn & poetry. We have the artists pic and the current picture we are studying up in the kitchen to be seen and looked at all the time as well as the composer's pic that we are studying this term. My hubby is really enjoying the whole classical music aspect of this new way to homeschool. It just means that we have classical on all the time in the background until the teenager gets home and changes it to Toby Mac or Skillet or something completely uneducational like that!
We are studying Aaron Copland for our composer. We just listened to him last week and had him on all the time in the background. This week we actually focused on one song and laid down and listened to it and then talked about it. I also have a book called 'Getting to Know the Composers'which we will read over this term as well.
We will start studying Winslow Homer next week as our artist. We have 1 print in the kitchen that will change every 2 weeks and his pic as well so they are always visible and we are always looking at them and hopefully talking about them! Over the term we will study 6 of his pictures - 1 every 2 weeks.
We had already been listening to Holy, Holy, Holy and learning a bit about that Hymn so we will continue with that one for the rest of the Term and the boys should know it backwards and forwards by the time we are done!
We are also reading a book called 'The Story of the Orchestra' that tells about each instrument in the orchestra!
We will eventually start with Spanish 1 or 2 times a week and we will be doing Science once a week once we get the book. We are going to be doing Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 from Apologia. It is all about swimming animals and we can't wait to start!!!
Thomas is last in my schedule to end the day spendingt ime with him reading and playing a game or two but so far he doesn't want anything to do with me!!So - we will see how far Thomas gets this year!!! No rush!
I love it and I am so excited that God sent me to the places and people I needed to go to to be able to help us find a rythmn for our homeschool. This feels really good so far!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Charlotte Mason

I have heard this name quite a bit since we started homeschooling. I have even tried to read a couple of her books at one time or another. I have always been struck by her method of education in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits. I couldn't really understand what that meant and visualize how it would work so I just kept doing what we were doing!
This journey of ours into homeschooling has always been such a 'God thing' for us and it has been truly amazing to see the ways that God has led me throughout this journey. He put people into my path to help us to make this decision -people that really spoke to my heart and my desires at that point of time. He has put families in all different stages of homeschooling and all different ways of homeschooling in our path for me to be able to 'see' how they do school and for me to be able to recognize what I DON"T want to do with my boys!! Throughout the past 2 years he has put CM materials into my hands - even though I didn't quite understand all of the philosophy.
Last year I was led to this book called 'Educating the Whole-Hearted Child' by Clay & Sally Clarkson
I loved this book! Some of the scriptures and what she said about them combined with the philosophy of teaching(which I now know is CM - I didn't realize it at the time of reading this book) led us to make the decision to claim Religious Exemption from the state in regards to our household. This has been the best decision we ever made for our family second to homeschooling.
At the end of last year a friend I had known thru different meetings became a really great friend and her and I have spent many hours discussing philosophy, books, schooling and other things too! Through her I started learning about Good Books and we started reading them and the boys just love them(now I know they are Living books). This started me on another journey of questions and answers and after a couple months of reading different emails and info about Charlotte Mason I knew I loved her ideas but I wasn't quite ready to commit to her style whole hog. I still felt as if I needed a curriculum to tell me what to do and say.
So - we started the school year with lots of Good Books and another curriculum. I lasted about 2 weeks and I hated it! Now - you might remember that I had posted about using CM here and I got frustrated and said no way this is not for me! Now - this is where you can really see what a freak I am because I was gonna use this CM curric but then decided I didn't like it and switched to the one I had been looking at that told me exactly what to do and say and now I am going back to the CM curriculum! I had been seeing and reading about Charlotte Mason but I still couldn't quite wrap my head around the WAY it should be done so I bailed on it. Then I read these articles and all of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head and I realized I could do this and that this is what I have wanted for our school from the beginning! I am truly in awe of the path God takes me on to get me back to where he was leading me in the first place - DUH!!!
So - now I have been doing more reading from this AWESOME website which makes it all so simple and even has lesson plans to use!! The more I read the more I understood and the more I really felt the Lord leading us to head this way!!
I have also started reading this book - which also puts her ideals into modern day english!! I will have you know I did read this book about 2 years ago and it didn't speak to me but boy did it this time!!!

We have been doing CM whole hog this week and it has been an amazing week of school!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

AMANDA who left me a comment about buying some of the books please email me with your email address si I can hook you up if you want them!! I can't comment on oyur blog for some reason and your comment is as a no-reply so I couldn't email you!!!
Thanks chica!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Project Addiction

I have decided I have a serious problem - I am a Project Addict. I can't seem to just chill and enjoy - I am forever changing things and making them 'new'. Well - this lovely addiction of mine was fine when the boys were younger but now it has crossed over into our homeschool and it is causing problems! Wait until you see the New Classroom( i will post pics in the next day or so) I created for us in what was the living room - it is lovely and my hubby is so happy that school is not ALL OVER the kitchen table, counters and shelves - but did I 'do' school while I was rearranging all the furniture? NO!
Now - i must preface this by saying that I tend to criticize myself heavily due to a low self esteem so I am probably not as bad as i am surely about to lead you to believe!! But maybe I am and that is what the Lord is trying to get through to my hard headed self??
I have had the best time and spent many hours and some dollars we just didn't have creating all sorts of things for the workboxes and then decided not to use them. I spent HOURS poring over curriculum and trying to decide what we wanted to do this year. I even had a friend promise me she would make me stick it out for the whole year and not let me start looking around - I already am by the way! Shhhh! Don't tell! I have made schedules, routines, fun charts to check off, organized all the books on the book shelves but do we DO or use any of it? No! I have created this wonderful place for us to do school - we do prefer the couch but it is hard to do writing and such on the couch! Will it get used the way it should - probably not. Why do I do these PROJECTS but have so much trouble 'doing' school with my boys? I am really feeling like a failure right now that I can put so much time into this foolishness(knowing it is foolishness the whole time I am doing it) but not keep the tv off and stick to our school routine or schedule? I am really good about doing Bible - we have read the creation story so many times the boys have it memorized but we have barely gotten past the Tower of Babel. I don't think we have ever gotten thru a whole day of homeschool - the way I plan it or the curriculum we are using plans it! I love the stuff that our current curric has for us to do for science and some of the history stuff but I NEVER DO IT with them because we never get there!We have read creation so many times I am almost sick of it. We get started and never finish what we are supposed to do or get much done other than me reading to them. We get off the schedule in a matter of seconds and I don't know how to get back on (because nothing is written down anywhere that tells me what to do in this situation) so I ususally end up looking thru my schedules and curric and by then I have totally lost the boys. If they are playing happily I will think to myself that they are playing so well I should just let them! Where do you think i go - a project maybe? Then I get mad at them because they are interrupting what I am doing - what is that?? Hello - I only have this short time with them and God has blessed me with this incredible oppurtunity to teach and love them and I am blowing it!
Now - if I know what I am doing and I know this is not what I want to do why can't I just stop and do things differently? DUH! Praise the lord for a new chance every morning to redeem myself but the fact that I am failing over and over again and not redeeming myself is kicking my butt right now! Why can I feel so strongly about something in my heart and have such a passion and desire for it but not get to it when it is right in front of me? It is all there for me but I don't get it! What is wrong with me??
Sorry about all that but I feel better having put it out there and I truly feel the Lord puts these words into my head to share because I am NOT the only one out there who feels this way!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Books For Sale


Cleaning off the bookshelves has been fun. Boy is it a reminder of the fact that I am always looking for the grass to be greener on the other side!!!
All items are postage paid and will be sent via Media Mail

Saxon Math 1 TM $10

Saxon Math 2 TM $10 - this one i 3 hole punched and put in a binder so I will send it to you in the binder!

Horizons Math K TM $10


Considering God's Creation TM and Student Handbook - never used. Both have been 3 hole punched and will be sent in the binder. $20

Learning language Arts thru Literature the Red Book(about 1st-2nd grade). I have the TM which has obviously been used but still works! The student manual is brand new and the first 2 lessons have been done but in pencil so they are erasable. The readers that are used are also included. They have all been spiral bound together into one big book. $20




Please do not hesitate to email me with any questions or offers!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School has begun - for Real

My oldest headed off to his first day of High School on Tuesday - it was a milestone for sure! he was so excited and could hardly sleep the night before. He is my social butterly who THRIVES on being around people! It is going to be an interesting year around our house. Danny and I are just excited to go to the High School football games - is that wrong? Because Alex is not so excited about us being there!

Mommy and the other 3 Boys had a full day of school also on Tuesday. Tuesdays are a hard day for me because my husband is off and he kindof gives a different atmosphere to our day(nothing bad but different) so it was not as s mooth as I would have liked it to be but it was a good day.

I have been gung-ho about workboxes all summer and very excited about putting them into play but when I was scheduling our day I really struggled with how to use them in our day. I could not figure out how they were going to be helpful for me when we do EVERYTHING together and the boys still need my help for LA and Math. It seemed like I was making more work for myself and the boys. Even though a lot of it would be fun stuff - they still need ME to do most everything so I can't figure out how to fill 12 boxes and split myself 3 ways to be able to help them all. It just seems easier to write the games into my planner and our schedule and we can all do them together. So - even though I have put a lot of energy and time into the workboxes - we are not gonna use them at this point in time!
So far the boys are okay with keeping Thomas happy while I work one on one with the other one! But plans always change around here!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I think I was in LaLa Land last week in regards to anything other than schooling!!! We started school and I totally forgot about the Blog Hop - I love to see how others have decorated and do their schooling so I will so be going back and checking them out!!! If you want to see ours - I blogged about it here.

Now...onto the Real Stars of our show.....

Stephen...8years old......3rd Grade

Stephen is my shy, quiet, video game junkie.

Ben.......6 years old.....1st Grade

Ben keeps us full of life with the stuff he comes up with using his imagination - truly amazing and thoughtful!

Thomas......4 years old.....PreK

When Thomas smiles it is all I can do to not give him the world(and he knows it)!

These boys are great friends and brothers who love each other dearly - even when fighting constantly!!! It brings me such Joy to be able to be at home with them and be a part of this life we have been given together as a family!

2 Years ago the Lord challenged me to take on this huge task of schooling my boys at home. It has been the BEST thing that has happened to our family. We have been tremendously blessed through this challenge and I am so thankful for the oppurtunity that we were given!

Friday, August 14, 2009

the First Week

went pretty good! We got off to a very slow start just doing chores, bible and circle time but it was a good start! The boys were good sports about getting up and doing their chores and NOT playing video games before school! Ben got up early and had his done by the time the rest of us got up!! We didn't get to lunch chores and dinner chores because we left every day right after school to go do other things but we will get those down eventually! Once school starts for all of us we will not be going places so much!

This week I really want to add in some workboxes so I can get a feel for how they are going to fit into our school. I haven't quite got a handle on them so I will be spending some time on Sunday playing around with them and our schedule!! I am anxious to spend some time seeing if others have started using them yet and how they are working for them!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Off to a slow start

Last week I read a post about not jumping into everything at once when we start school and I haven't stopped thinking about it - because that is exactly what i would have done!!! I was planning to start - full force - on Aug. 25(the same day that Alex starts high school) but I have decided to start tomorrow and add a little bit at a time until we are on track!

We will start by getting into the routine of what our morning will look like. Wake up(we do not start at a certain time), chores(using the charts I made earlier this summer), Bible and Circle Time. Bible and Circle Time seem to be an easy transition and since we will start our day with them during school I decided to go ahead and throw them in this week! We need to get out of the habit of playing video games way too much and just being lazy!!! I am so bad with routines and schedules that I need the extra time to make these changes for this year!!
I am most excited about doing Circle Time. I know it is a total 'school' thing to do but I have big plans for our time together in the am. I put felt on a tri fold display board and velcroed the things I am using to the board - hopefully it will hold! I am gonna be adding things to it throughout the year. I plan to use the back for history or science needs. I am going to put up some blackline maps so they can put the name, date and locations of the different battles thoughout american history as we learn about them. I haven't come up with other stuff yet but I am sure I will get loads of ideas from fellow bloggers as we go along!!!
The biggest of these is gonna be Family Prayer. We will be spending time every morning praying for different family members. I plan to pick one family a month(we have no family living near us) and we will pray for the kids individually as well as the parents and other prayers for the family and get to know them a little at the same time. I have put up different verses about prayer and a picture of the family we are praying for will be in the center. I am still trying to decide if I should email the families and let them know we will be praying for them and see if there is anything specific we could be praying for - what do you think???

This week, before we actually start with Family prayer, we will be talking about prayer - what it is, how we do it, why we do it, etc. I Have this great book called 'A Faith to Grow on' by John MacArthur that was written for kids and has some great answers to these questions!
We will do calendar, weather and seasons.
We will be learning the books of the bible so we will start memorizing them thru song. I have them listed on one side of the board.
We will be doing things with the clock and time - I haven't figured out all the details for that one yet! But - I do have this fun little analog clock with movable hands for them to use!
Our Family Rules will be discussed every day until they have them down pat and understand each rule - clearly. Then they will be reviewed once a week!!! I am hoping this reinforcement in a positive way will help them to remember them instead of only hearing them when I am angry because they broke one of them!!!
Bible Time will be spent just reading thru the bible in a year! It might even end up being read at bedtime instead of during school because we are aslo going to be doing bible thru the curriculum I bought!
It will all depend on how the boys are responding and how well it is going how soon and when I will add things to the schedule!!! Ben has already told me he doesnt like being homeschooled and he wants to go back to regular school - whatever! The kid has only been in a preschool classroom - which he hated and I had to leave him crying hysterically every time - and he was only there for 6 months!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Workbox Schedule Cards & Numbers

I needed to change my schedule cards to make them a little smaller and I needed to add some so I ended up changing some of the ones I already did plus adding quite a few more!! Hope you like them!!!
Here they are for the taking if you want them or want to share them!!!

I also made new number cards which I let the boys choose what they wanted on them so I have Thomas the Tank Engine numbers(only 1-6), transformers and lego star wars numbers if you want to print any of them out for yourself!!!

I have to go to bed now - I have been playing with this for way too long!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

(Not) Back to School Blog-Hop

Are you REALLY ready for school to start?? I think I am but I am fairly certain it will all chnage the minute we actually start school!!

Every Monday this month Life with 3 Boybarians is going to be hosting a weekly meme about Back-to-School!! The link below should take you straight there! This week is all about Curriculum - I can't wait to see what other's are doing this year!!!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Staples Deals - Pass the word on.....

Every week Staples has penny deals! I am not sure for how much longer but take note for next year if you missed it this year!! They are only sun-weds and this week it is loose leaf paper. Here's the best part - I found out today that Teachers can get 25 of some of the penny deals!!! Guess what -we are teachers - at least according to my staples!!!!
Make sure you check at your staples what the limits are before you buy!!!!
Have fun shopping!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Curriculum has been decided.......

and there is no going back or changing of minds allowed!!! I have really struggled with deciding what to do this year - not because I didn't find something I liked but because I have become a book junkie - lovin' me some yard sales and thrift stores!! I have WAY TOO MANY books on WAY TOO MANY subjects!! At convention a friend helped me to decide that I should just use what I already have, do my own planning and then next year start back with a bought curriculum. I was all gung ho for that and a little bit excited but then I could never sit down and figure out HOW to plan it. It has been a month - if not longer - and I have been in limbo because I didnt know what to do to get started planning! Finally - a friend sent me a blog that uses some of ambleside online but she has tweaked it a little bit and she has it on her blog for anyone to use. So - I got all excited again becuase this gave me some guidelines to follow and I had a lot of the books and I was sure I could find replacements or use the library for the ones I don't have. I got everything in order - made some planning sheets and sat up till all hours of the night and for 3 days did nothing but work on this. By the time I had finished going thru each week, writing it in my planner and rearranging books and stuff I knew there was no way this would work for us!! 3 days - gone!! But.....By going thru each week all the way to the end it really helped me make decisions and know things that I would not have figured out until we had already started! I have a tendency to judge a book by it's cover and the cover of this looked real good and it probably is real good for lots of you but I knew I would not stick with it! It also didn't have enough american history in it for the boys interests at this point! So - I was very frustrated but had a quick solution - I went back to the curriculum that I had gone to convention thinking I was going to use!!!
I also got to know a little bit about myself - there is no way that I will ever, ever again try to attempt to do any planning on my own - NOT FOR ME!!! It also made me realize that every year I AM going to look at everything available to me and make a new choice each year instead of sticking with one company forever. I also was very convicted to get rid of all of the extra books that are just laying around tempting me and making me feel like I need to use them just because they are here. Well - why are they here? Because I was at a yard sale or a thrift store and saw it for a cheap price and thought that someday we might use that or we are studying this topic - maybe I need 1 more book about columbus - it is only 25 cents!!!! TROUBLE I tell you - TROUBLE!!! I have decided that this desire to find something cheap is a serious addiction and I am prayerful that God has broken that in me and that I can now move on to more important things!!!
Now - with all that said - this is what we are going to use this year..........
Stephen - 3rd Grade, Ben - 1st Grade and Thomas - PreSchool

Pre-School with Thomas will be very informal. Totally Tots has some great ideas and we may also follow what my friend over at Homeschool Creations did last year in her Preschool Corner. He will be doing a letter a week at co-op so we will follow along with that in regards to learning his letters.

Heart of Dakota - Bigger Hearts for his Glory
I love the way this is set up and laid out. I have not been able to get my hands on it so when it comes next week I am sure I will spend days devouring it and getting to know it a little better. It seems very easy to use so that all I have to do is get everything we will need together for each day, open the TM and go! I am all over that - I need someone to tell me what to do and how to do it so I can just skip that step altogether in my life! The boys will devour the history and I am excited about the other things that are included - The books for storytime are from nine different genres, Bible is focusing on character traits, Science uses these fabulous books called One Small Square, in Music we are going to learn about the history behind some of our beloved Hymns and we will touch on a little bit of geography each week. Can you tell I am excited????

Horizons Math - we didn't finish our books last year because we spent some time focusing on our addition and subtraction facts and playing games so we will work through our books some and add in some more games!

The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading - I learned about this at convention and listened to her speak and then was able to chat with her a little bit. I will use the same book for all 3 boys they just will be at different spots in the book. It seems like a great program so I will keep you updated as we work thru it!

Spanish - I found a beginner spanish kit by Hooked on Phonics at Ollie's for dirt cheap and so we will be starting with that this year. It is just the basics and seems like a good a place as any to get started!

Spelling - I am going to start using All about Spelling with Stephen after we establish where he is with his reading. My friend has written up a fantastic review of this spelling program.

Art - we will study an artist or two this year but I don't know who yet. I am gonna check out ambleside online when I get home to make that decision!

We will be doing the workbox system this year to keep our day on track! I have everything all set up and ready to go for that....just need school to get started!!!!

We will be doing co-op on Fridays that will fill in all the gaps(I hope) and provide a little bit more to our week!

I am really excited about our year and looking forward to hearing what others are using and reading reviews and updates from your year!!!


Well - tomorrow we are off to go camping for a week with my family. My sister's family and my parents and us are all going to be staying in cabins at Hungry Mother State Park for the next week!!! The boys are soooo excited - they can't wait to be camping and to be able to hang out with their cousins for a whole week!
I will be off the net for a week - I think - so I will have lots to share when we get back!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Homeschool Share - New Stuff

I am not sure if you are familiar with Homeschool Share or not. They are a fantastic website with loads of free lapbooks, unit studies, notebooking stuff and they have added a section called Workboxables!!!!! They have just come out with a whole lot of new goodies that I highly recommend you stopping by and checking it out! Take a browse thru all the goodies and to find the workboxables i went to what's new and scrolled down the page a little and there it was!!!!

The BIG Curriculum Clean-Out

My friend - over at Homeschool Creations is hosting this wonderful blog carnival. Go check it out and see what it is all about! Maybe i will see you guys there!!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting Ready

I have been working on our NEW and Improved schedules and charts for school and life to keep mommy and the boys on track!! I have borrowed ideas from different blogs and other websites I have found to create something that I am hoping will work for our family. I am a Very visual person so if I don't see it it probably won't happen or will be forgotten about! It also has to be easy to follow because I get sidetracked so easily and I have a lot of trouble following routines and schedules. I have been trying to reduce the amount of stuff and get better organized.

First I came up with my daily task chart......

I am hoping that a visual reminder of what my day should look like will help to keep me on track!! I put one upstairs in my bathroom so I would see it first thing in the morning and there is one on the frig!

Next, I worked on what I wanted the boys day to look like and what habits and routines I felt were a priority in our day! This is what I came up with........

Each boy has a chore in the morning and a meal chore each day. They will keep these specific chores for at least 3 months so they get familiar with them and know how to do them well.

Habits we need to master - eating every meal together, brushing teeth, putting their dishes in the dishwasher and cleaning up every day before daddy gets home. These are the things I feel like we need to focus on for quite a few months to get started creating good habits and routines in our house!!!

The black dots are velcro and I have made big check marks with velcro on the back of them that the boys put up after they have done each chore. The check marks are in a bucket next to the frig within easy reach!

I created a few extras for Saturday. Cleaning rooms, scooping poop out of the yard and cleaning out the van.

I have uploaded the charts to scribd if anyone wants to go get one! I put stickers on them with the boys name and I hand wrote the verses on them so these would be easy to just print out and use if you wanted to! The saturday one is a little bit more personalized but you could easily change the pics and jobs in each box!

This is a chart from Doorposts that i found at the thrift store! I did have to modify just a smidge. All the verses were King James version and so I started out rewriting them in NIV so the boys could better understand them but then I got out my favorite book - Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel - and found some different verses on the same topic that I liked a little better!!! The first column is the bad behavior, the middle column is the verse and the empty column is the consequence for the behavior. I haven't figured out the consequences yet but we are working on that!!!