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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Planners or not?

Do you use a planner?  Do your kids?  If not, why not?  If so, why?  I am curious.  I know there are some in each camp and I like to hear the differing opinions on each side.

In our homeschool we use planners.  I use one and I have each of our girls use them.  It is something I wish I had learned to do in school myself.  To learn to manage your own schedule and assignments is a real life skill that I think is sorely lacking in our society.  No, I am not trying to make a sweeping generalization here, I think on the whole our children are not taking responsibility for themselves and the things they need to do.  It is our fault as parents and our fault as a society. 

No, not every kid.  No, not every family. 

Okay, now on to the planners.  Like I said, we use them and I wouldn't have it any other way.  When the girls start 2nd grade they get their first planner.  I buy a cheap, simple one from Rainbow Resource but there are planners everywhere.  At first I have the child copy the subjects to each day in the same pattern every day.  Beside the subjects I have them write, "1 Lesson a Day."  After a lesson is completed I have them put the Lesson number or page number on the same line.  By the end of the first week the planner is filled in with Subjects and completed assignment pages. 

Sometime during the second or third week usually, they begin to see a pattern.  They start asking questions at the beginning of the week about how to write their assignments down before they do them.  I will have them plan out one subject at the beginning of the week and keep doing the rest the same way as before.  They are so happy that they are figuring it out that they don't realize it is *work*! 

Usually around the third month or so of planning they have a pretty good idea of how to do it and are doing it with help from me.  There isn't really independence in planning yet, but I know it will come. 

By the time they reach 5th grade they are almost completely independent on their planning with just a few questions.  Peanut, our 5th grader, is totally independent in planning her school and has taken to it like a duck to water.  She thoroughly enjoys breaking her assignments down and scheduling them out.  But then again, she loves school! lol

My 8th and 9th graders are completely independent now.  There may be a few questions here or there but they plan out their own studies for the week.  I check them on Sunday evenings to make sure they are getting them done and through out the week they are bringing me their planners to check assignments off as they are completed. 

I use our Ultimate Homeschool Planners a little differently than Debra Bell suggests but it works for us.  She suggests that the mom plan out the work and then the student copy from her planner to their own but I do just the opposite.  I make the girls plan their studies out and then copy it into my planner.  Doing it this way, I can see how well they are dividing up their assignments and using their time.  I can also catch any problems that need addressing.

I haven't always done it like this and it has bitten me in the hiney.  Our children need us to teach them independence, accountability, and responsibility for themselves.  Who better to do that than the people God entrusted them to?  Is our system perfect?  Oh no!  We are messing up way more than we are getting it right most of the time.  But we are trying.  We are down in the dirty trenches every day struggling with each other and figuring it out.  (mostly!) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The first week

The first week of school is done and I am amazed and thankful at how well it has gone.  There were a few bumps-read attitudes-along the way but all in all it was a great first week.  I am still using my Ultimate Homeschool Planner and still absolutely loving it.  The older three girls have the student/teen version of the Ultimate Planners and are loving those as well.  They are just about perfect!

I know not every week will go this smoothly but it gives me hope for the year, ya know?  Now that I will have four full-time students with a toddler thrown in and three part-time students I need every bit of...something.  I don't even know what.  I am doing what I love with kids that I love.  How does it get any better than that?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

All About Bug

So Bug's language and personality has exploded!  She is not only jabbering up a storm she is talking.  A lot!  Her language base is crazy big now and she can effectively communicate just about anything she needs.  We love it!

This post I am going to share some of the great things she says now.  She has us laughing every day with the new phrases she comes up with.

When I asked her to help pick up some trash she looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said, "I can't want to."  I just stared at her.  Yeah, I know the feeling baby girl!

She wrote on herself the other day and when I noticed it on her arm she covered it up and said, "Don't see it." 

If anyone is leaving the house she will say, "Hey, where are you going people?" 

To get our attention she will say, "Hey, guess what?"  When you give her your attention and say "What?"  She looks at you and says, "Um..."  Then her face lights up the biggest smile.  Love it!

When she wakes up from her nap and she is ready to get out of bed she will go through the list of names to get someone to come and get her.  If no one comes right away, she starts yelling, "Somebody come get me."  heehee

Lately her phrase is, "I need..."  She will tell us that she needs popsicles or whatever else there is.  At breakfast she 'needed' more cereal but she was yelling at us so I told her to ask politely.  She paused for a moment and then said, "I *need* (said with a guttural growl) more cereal, pwease!"  We laughed so hard.  She was trying to be nice but the growling was just too cute.

Of course she has the typical 2yo response to most things, "I do it."  She has figured out how to take her diaper and pants off proudly proclaiming, "Look!"  It's not too bad unless it is 'loaded'! lol

We are working her off of her pass but she will ask for it and say, "I need pass for a little bit."  The answer is no and she always looks up with her huge eyes and says, "just a wittle bit?"  It is hard to say no to that!

I think one of my favorite thins is when someone is crying or upset, she will walk over to them to hug them.  If they are crying, she will find a towel or tissue and dry their tears.  It is too precious.  She is also starting to tease.  She will walk toward us with her arms raised like she wants to be picked up but when you get close enough to do it she cackles and runs off yelling, "Run, faster!"

Life is not boring with this little sprite in our house!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another First Day

Today was the first day with the three extra kiddos, Sparkles, Rocket Boy, and Sprout.  I was a little nervous adding three kiddos to the mix but it went swimmingly!  There were no problems and we actuall got all the work done for the day.  It seemed to actually help keep everyone on track having someone in their grade with them.  They wanted to have free time so they kept encouraging one another to finish!  Peer pressure can be a good thing.  lol

I am super excited to see where this year takes us.  Our Tapestry studies are all in the 20th and 21st Century and I can't wait to see the kids discover history coming alive. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day

Today is our first day of school.  I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  I am ready for the new books, new adventures, and the new schedule.  As in nothing else going on kind of schedule!

Unfortunately our first day didn't go quite as planned.  We had tears, broken light bulbs, forgotten material, sleeping late, and running out of food.  And that was just in the morning! lol

But, I wrote about that in my next article for Homeschool Mosaics so you will have to head over there and read it on the 3rd of September!

In this post I am going to tell you about the lessons learned on our first day of school.  And they weren't even found in a text book.

1.  I learned that life can carry on even if I have forgotten to print off the material we need for the day. 

2.  The kids will believe it if I tell them that I had planned to make pancakes all along!

3.  I am not a bad mom if I give them the rest of the day off after lunch on the first day of school.

4.  The relationship with my kids is more important than the book learning.  (Not that book learning isn't important but their character is of more value in the long run.)

5.  Laughter really is the best medicine.  Especially when you are laughing at yourself.

6.  Curdled milk will still smell on your shirt 10 hours later.

7.  Drinking more coffee after lunch helps keep you awake for read aloud time.

8.  Falling asleep during read aloud time is a guaranteed way to get a great nap with no interruptions!

9.  Forgetting that you have to make supper for the family makes for a rushed and unhappy evening.

10.  Having a hubby that will buy supper for the family on said day is a blessing.

Our first day wasn't what I wanted but it sure was one for the memory books!

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum

This year holds a few changes in our curriculum choices.  We have some that are the same, ones we love, but are adding new ones that have all of us excited. 

This year I have a Freshman, and 8th Grader, a 5th Grader, a 2nd Grader, and a 2yo.  Plus, I will have another 8th Grader,  5th Grader, and a 2nd Grader on Tuesdays and Thursdays! 

Here is what we are doing:


IEW's Student Writing Intensive B
IEW's Fix It
Tapestry of Grace
Math U See-Geometry
Fallacy Detective
Visual Latin
Apologia Biology

8th Graders-Sweet Pea and Sparkles:

IEW's Student Writing Intensive B
IEW's Fix It
Tapestry of Grace
Math U See- different levels
Visual Latin
Apologia General Science
IEW's Phonetic Zoo
Getty-Dubay Italics

5th Graders-Peanut and Rocket Boy:

Writing Tales Level 2
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry and Physics
Pen Time Handwriting
Tapestry of Grace
Spelling Power
Math U See-different levels
Visual Latin-just watching

2nd Graders-Bean and Sprout:

Growing with Grammar
Spelling Power
Pen Time Handwriting
Tapestry of Grace
Math U See Beta
Considering God's Creation


Bug will be working on playing for short periods of time by herself as well as cleaning up her toys! lol  We will continue with our workboxes and start learning colors.  Potty training will probably be in there somewhere when she is ready! 

Plus, we will have any classes through our homeschool group starting in September as well as the theater group I will be co-directing for and soccer season commencing.  It is going to be a full year with one in High School and one in Pre-Pre-K.  But I am excited about it. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Baptism in our future!!

We had a meeting tonight with our pastor about getting Peanut baptized!  She has been wanting to be baptized for over a year but we were waiting for the right time. 

Now is the time.

Our church is doing baptisms at a lake this weekend and we want Peanut to be included.  The meeting went well and she is on the dockett for the baptisms.  She can't wait.  She is super excited and so are we. 

It's going to be a great weekend at our house!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A week of preparation

This week as well as doing a theater camp I am getting us ready for school.  I am a little stressed quite frankly.  This year we are going to have three extra kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help out their family.  We love these kids and this family so it won't be a huge thing but preparing for the extra kids is more work than I thought! lol  That's kind of sad isn't it, that I didn't think three more kids would be work.  Doesn't speak too well of me does it?  In my defense though, they are going to be doing all the same curricula that my kids are so it isn't all new stuff. 

Anyway, I am printing off our Tapestry workbooks, the IEW materials, workbooks for Christian Kids Explore Science, and figuring out our schedule for the year.  Not too much, is it? ;-)

I know once it starts it will all smooth out but for now I am stressing a bit. 

I know what will help...buying new school supplies!! heehee

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Theater Camp(another one!)

Monday marks the start of another theater camp this summer.  The last the summer.  Thankfully.  I have loved it so much and am so glad I did it but it was just one more thing in a crazy busy summer. 

This weeks show is Annie.  I love the show and can't wait to see the kids on Monday morning.  I also can't wait to see Bean in her first audition and show.  She is so nervous she is crying though.  Bless her heart! 

I have all the choreography finished and am a little nervous to see if the kids can do it.  I may have been a little too ambitious with some of it! lol

For now, I will live in the fantasy that this is for Broadway and they will all be stars!  ;-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Great Day

Our youngest has been asking questions about salvation for several weeks now.  She listens to the answers and then thinks about it for a while.  She eventually comes back with more questions.  We haven't pushed or prodded her bc we want this to be her decision when she is ready for it. 

Well, the other day she kept asking me if I would help her with something.  I was busy printing things for school and getting ready for the start of the year so I kept telling her that I would later.  I thought she was asking for help with a craft project.  They are always creating something so it wasn't a big stretch. 

Friday night she sat beside me on the couch and asked if I could help her in the morning with something.  I told her I would try but I had a bunch of stuff to do.  She sat there for a minute kind of looking sad but didn't say anything.  The Holy Spirit whispered to me that I needed to ask what she wanted help with.  When I asked her she said she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart and needed help. 

Oh my word.  I immediately told her that we were not going to wait for the next day we were going to run upstairs, get daddy and talk to Jesus.  As we were waiting for Steven, Bean started crying.  Sunshine(14) saw her and scooped her up thinking something was wrong.  They were hugging when I told her that Bean wanted to ask Jesus to be her Savior.  Sunshine started crying too!  lol

We called everyone up and knelt around her approaching the Throne of Grace.  It was a wonderful moment that I will never forget.  She was crying she was so happy.  She looked over to me and said, "This is the best day of my life."

Yeah, God is good.

I can not wait to see what God has in store for this amazing young lady. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just can't

I seem to be in a lull.  I can't keep up on my blog.  So much is happening and life is being lived but posting and blogging are so not happening.  I am hoping with the start of school I will get back into a regular schedule of blogging and chronicling our lives.

For now, we are trying to plan school and survive one of the busiest summers on record.  Did I mention I didn't like how busy we were?  I didn't, don't, can't, won't and whatever other word describes an extreme dislike.  lol

School planning is actually going pretty well.  We are pretty much ready to start on Monday.  I think. 

I am going to post our choices in a few days(actually tonight since I am post-dating again but hey at least it's getting done right?).  A few new choices but mostly the same. 

I am deep in the trenches of printing, planning, organizing(okay not that much organizing but I sure am thinking about it and I like all the shiny new things that other people use in organizing their homes), and freaking out at having a high schooler. 

Yeah, life is real interesting here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Marie's Words Timberdoodle Review

Is vocabulary important to you?  Are you impressed by people that know words others don't *and* know how to use them correctly?  Do you want your kids to have an amazing vocabulary?

If you answered yes to any one of those questions then I have just the thing for you. 

Marie's Words is a very simple yet highly fun and effective product from Timberdoodle.  Never heard of it?  That's okay, I will tell you all about it!

"Because we remember faces easier than we do names, it follows that learning vocabulary with colorful illustrations to help with recall is a more effective plan than merely studying lists of words and their definitions. Marie's Words features a full-color, hand-drawn illustration on one side to show the word in a way that helps your child recall the meaning more easily."
I find this to be so true in my life.  I can remember a face so much more easily than a name but if I can put that name with an associating picture I can remember both.  What an effective tool to give our kids as well as our selves. 

Marie's Words gives parents a tool that is easy to use as well as highly effective. 
550 Vocabulary Words Gleaned From the SATJust as a logo is a visual representation of a company, Marie's Words utilizes colorful illustrations to create a "face" for each of the 550 vocabulary words gleaned from the SAT® test and literature. While some of the illustrations are not immediately apparent, once understood, each drawing will aid in mastering the definitions of these words and is a natural augmentation to your child's study of word roots. On the reverse of each Marie's Words card is the phonetic pronunciation, definition and part of speech, the word used in a sentence, synonyms, and antonyms.

550 words!!  Can you imagine if your children or even yourself could master these words-you would then be the one impressing people with your vocabulary!  I know I found words in Marie's Words that I wasn't sure about or flat out didn't know.  Now I do. 

Now, before you think that Marie's Words isn't for the younger set, let me tell you that young kids can use this almost as easily as the older ones.  They just might need a little help reading the words but the pictures will secure the words and definitions in their minds.  Everyone can use Marie's Words. 

When you order Marie's Words you get a small box; don't let that deceive you.  This little box is chock full of cards with tons of information on them.  Each card has the word and an associated color picture on one side with the word, phonetic spelling, definition, a sentence, synonyms, and antonyms on the other.  The cards are numbered in the upper left-hand corner and a hole on the upper right-hand corner.  The numbers will make it easier to put them in order and the hole is perfect for putting the cards on a ring.  The cards are the perfect size for easy handling. 
Included in the box are instructions for two different games.  They are easy to understand and easy to play.  This is an open the box and go product.  As a mom of five I love that.  I love that the rules aren't confusing or something that can be argued about.  I mean, let's face it, if there is any wiggle room kids will argue about them.  Right?

I have been so impressed with this "little box" of cards.  I have loved how easy it was to use and how well it teaches the words.  Marie's Words is absolutely worth the $23.99 from Timberdoodle.  As a bonus I found a little slip of paper in the box that says, "Picture Words-in a Flash!  Marie's Words is also available in app stores for the iPhone, iPad, and Android."  How cool is that?  In this technological age this app would be priceless for our kids to have with them wherever they go. 
I highly recommend Marie's Words.  It is a great tool for any family.

If you want to find out more about Language Arts from Timberdoodle head over here and check it out.  For a FREE catalogue (which I HIGHLY recommend!) head over and fill out this form. Want to connect with Timberdoodle on Facebook?  Head over to their page and Like them.
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Marie's Words in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.