Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I don't know what it is but I am in a very happy mood today. (Maybe because yesterday was our wedding anniversary & the night ended with dinner out with good friends & roses from my husband). But whatever it is, I am feeling happy & positive! Don't you just love those days? Thought I had better blog while I still had the fairy dust on me!

We are into week two & I am loving it! It does help that my daughter is eager to start every morning & constantly looks to the next thing we are working on, I keep telling her to focus on what is in front of her (don't look behind the curtain!).

We start every morning at the board. I have a number of the day & she has to answer five questions regarding the number (Odd or Even, Subtract 3, Add 20, < or > 50, Next Number?), it's a nice light way to begin the morning. I have also just made a weather board. I saw this idea on Pinterest & after purchasing my own laminator I made one this past weekend! You can see the Pin I took it from here.

We are loving it!

Our day has been starting at 8:30am, we take an hour lunch break where I allow her to play (mainly because she does not complain to start back up & we don't have recess - much less a yard to have recess being in an apartment). This lunch hour is very necessary for me as well. Besides making both our lunches, I clean up a bit from school work & supplies we are done using, and maybe have time to do my household chore of the day (yes, I do one household chore a week - by the end of the week, house is cleaned, another brilliant idea from Pinterest), or I relax a bit. After that hour our energy is renewed & we are ready to complete our day! Our day seems to be ending between 1:30-2:00.

I hope all you other newbies are also finding your groove... ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We're off....and tripping

What is it about being a mom and getting sick? Obviously getting sick is never fun or convenient but when you are a mom and even more so, a home schooling mom, it feels like the end of the world, you can't really have a sick day when you have a child.

Today I woke feeling like I was hit by a truck. Pain in my head, ears, teeth, neck, back and stomach. I mean seriously what kind of medicine do you take for all those symptoms? I digress. Last week I would have told my daughter that I wasn't feeling good and needed to sleep. Done. This week it's a different story, having the responsibility of being a Kindergarten teacher, I dragged myself up and started to get together school supplies for the day.  It started off normal but then an hour into school work, she had a frustration meltdown!

So now we have taken a break from the worksheets and she did her Reading Kingdom online and is now currently working on Dreambox math online. I am hoping that after a lunch break we will both be more calm and ready to continue.

After today I was thinking more about this idea I saw on Pinterest from Peace Creek On The Prairie, a mommy sick day binder! Basically you make up a binder of things for your kids while you can still rest, check it out! I am going to do this! (For other school ideas I love you can follow my Schoolwork & Crafts Pinterest board here.)

Besides the hiccups today, our first week of school is going great! We've already covered some History, Science, Art, Bible study, Geography, Cooking as well as Reading, Math, Handwriting and Journal time which we cover daily.

To infinity and beyond....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Twas the week before Kindergarten....

Originally I had planned the last week before Kindergarten filled with fun stuff to do. Go to the waterpark one more time, go downtown & ride the trolley, a picnic lunch at the park, all those sorts of things. Instead my daughter has been sick all week long. A friend had a Kindergarten party at her house the week previous & now the kids are all sick. It's not her fault, it's ironic being when kids go to school, they pass the germs around & get sick. So, life goes on. We are sitting at home trying to relax & anxiously awaiting the UPS man who will be delivering our Home Art Studio package along with all the art supplies!

Onward to planning a special First Day of Kindergarten, I have a few small things planned but wondered what others did to make it a special day?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Dreaded Curriculum Question

Once I made the choice to home school, I thought that was going to be my toughest choice, just to do it or not. <All you home schooling parents can insert laughter here> Oh my goodness, was I ever wrong! After I decided to home school the next question of course is, 'what curriculum are you using'? I read up on every type of generalized curriculum from K-12, Montessori, Charlotte Mason & unschooling to name a few. As I type this my head still spins at this subject.

The last year & a half I have been working with my daughter on schooling to see if, when it came time for Kindergarten we would be able to do this. In this time I have acquired schooling workbooks from The Dollar Tree, The Mailbox, The Old Schoolhouse, Wal-Mart & misc other places. This has worked well for us. However as I was approaching 'the real deal' I knew I needed a little bit more structure, so I will share what I am planning on using, as we start next week, this may change & develop more as we go.

Originally, I had decided I was going to purchase a secular curriculum. I, of course, liked the idea that I didn't have to think about what I was going to do each day, that I would just have it available. After more thought I had to re-evaluate why I was home schooling in the first place, it was so my daughter could get a quality education & not have to stop learning because she has completed the grade's curriculum. If I was going to do it I couldn't be lazy about it just because it was more work on my part. So, what is my curriculum? It is MY CURRICULUM, it is not a purchased curriculum, it is various things I will work with so my child can keep learning. Here are a few books/programs I am using however:
  • The Core Knowledge K-8 Guide: I have to organize somehow & this book is my general guide. These standards are much higher than the Common Core Standards. They have standards for each subject (except Math) & even break it down by month to make it easier for planning. Read more about them at their website.
  • The Mailbox Day by Day Kindergarten Plans: My daughter has been loving the Themed lessons this summer so I got this book mostly so I can keep that up without having to think too heavily, including which books I will order from the library to use for that theme. For each week it has Daily plans for Morning Group Time (which is geared toward a classroom, so I will not use), Read-Alouds & Art, Literacy & Math, Journal Prompts and then it has a song of the week. There are also reproducibles included for the week. Check this book out here.
  • Daily Handwriting Practice (Traditional Manuscript): I really like this book. We have been using it for awhile now. It is not for any grade, so can really be for anyone. We will be doing daily journal work but I am still going to use this book, so she can really work on structuring her letters correctly. Check it out here.
  • Dreambox: I have just discovered this but am in love with it! Dreambox is an online website that is all math games. Your child logs in & 'plays'. We are still going to be doing traditional math worksheets & games but I like this because it is independent math time. Dreambox actually tells you, the parent, not to help your child so they can truly see where they place. The thing I love most about this is the reports you can see about your child's activity on here, it is extremely detailed, breaking down exactly what they were asked to do & how they did. They also don't just stick to your child's grade level, they use K-5 math & you can see what things they have accomplished in different grade levels. Make sure you check them out (they give you a free 2 week trial) here.
  • Weekly Reader: I loved the Weekly Reader growing up. Most of you should be pretty familiar with this already, but you can order this by grade level so your kids can get their current events in an age appropriate venue. Check them out & order it here. Note that on the ordering page it says you have to order in quantities of 10, however if you call the number and tell them you are a home schooling parent, you can order single subscriptions no problem.
  • Science Fusion: I haven't received this yet but I am anxiously awaiting this. This home school kit includes a student work text plus student and teacher access to the online eLearning curriculum for 1 year. Once we break this open I'll let you know how it goes. If you'd like to order a Home School kit head here.
  • Home Art Studio: Ok, I haven't received this yet either, but am really excited to get this. My daughter loves art, and I'm pretty sure I don't have an art bone in my body. These DVDs are art lessons, one for each week of school by a certified art teacher & mom. Check her DVDs and program here.
Along with all these I am still using worksheets from the many different workbooks I have accumulated, these are just the ones that are going in regular rotation, so to speak. So, what's your curriculum?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Love to Learn

The last week before starting Kindergarten is here, which of course means daily, or hourly I go from feeling confident that I am ready to be a teacher to my child to "Oh no, will I have enough to do, what if I'm not teaching the right things, is she going to hate me as her teacher." I'm a bit spastic. But as I got up on this Sunday morning and my daughter comes to me begging to do school work I know this will all work out because she loves to learn. I know that I am going to make mistakes along the way, will change the way I do things with her and that will be ok, because we will then be learning together. I need to love to learn right there with her, because I am learning too, of course we are always teaching our children as parents but believe me this is on a whole new level. Onward and upward....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It Begins....

I'm a stay at home mom.
I home school.
I'm crazy.
Well at least my daughter says so. Tonight she said, "Mama's not crazy", then immediately goes to her daddy & whispers something in his ear & they laugh. Later he tells me what she said.., "I don't really mean it, but don't tell mama." Well, I think she means it in a good way.

But I will own the crazy. Life has been crazy. Three years ago I was living in IL working full time, living in an old house. Now I am living in AR, a full time mom, living in an apartment. Things have changed. I like change, but it is still trying.

Now here I am with a 5 year old, entering Kindergarten with me as her teacher. From the time I was pregnant my husband knew he wanted our child home schooled, I said, 'yeah, but I'll have to do it.' I never thought I would actually be in the position where I wasn't working full time so didn't worry about it. Now it has come upon me. I have been doing some school work with my daughter for over a year now just to test the waters to see if we could both do this. (I do believe home schooling is only for certain parents & certain children) I actually thought okay, I've been doing this for awhile, no big deal. Okay, working on an hour of school a day compared to being responsible for an actual grade level is completely different! I decided not to just buy a curriculum. This is going to be much more work for me but I didn't want her to feel stuck after finishing Kindergarten work, I wanted her to keep right on learning. I feel at this point the actual teaching is going to be a breeze compared to all the time and effort I am doing just prepping the work so it is ready to go.

So because this is all a new experience and figure I need to share this somewhere I turn to you, oh internet. Let's start this new crazy adventure and see what fun comes out of it... Are you ready to learn?