Category Archives: general homeschooling

Week 25

Memory Verse: The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Hymn: How Great Thou Art

Artist: Claude Monet

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Five in a Row: The Hickory Chair by Lisa Rowe Fraustino (learning about blindness and Louis Braille)

Pre-K Literature: Through Grandpa’s Eyes by Patricia Maclachlan (learning about the senses, blindness, and Louis Braille)

Read Aloud: Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille by Russell Freedman

A Few Photos From Last Week:

Math is so fun!

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Practicing her Newest Sight Words
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Her book was about a brother and a sister, so we worked on the brother portion of her family notebook. She gave me the LONGEST narration about him compared to what she has done for previous family members. She went on and on about his likes and interests. She knows her brother well. She’s been writing his name for well over a year (she could write it before her own name) so this was her easiest handwriting page as well.
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We made snowflakes since they were both learning about them. I’ve been finding little scraps of white paper all over my house ever since. They won’t stop making more of them!
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Another Monet Picture Study
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Week 21

Memory Verse: So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Hymn: Jesus Paid it All

Artist: Claude Monet

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Five in a Row: Hanna’s Cold Winter by Trisha Marx (learning about Hungary during WWII and Hippopotamuses)

Pre-K Literature: A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams (learning about the importance of saving and the coins)

Read Aloud: The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

A Few Photos From Last Week:

We went with a local homeschool group to the Dallas World Aquarium and saw lots of interesting things.

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Stingrays
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Giant Crab
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Flamingos
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The Jaguar (At the aquarium…yes, I was confused too.)
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While Elliot and I were doing Mailing May and learning about the postal service, we used these little mailboxes I found in the dollar section of Target to send mail to each other.

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Elliot’s latest interest is cooking. He loves to be my little student as I make dinner. Here he was learning how to sauté veggies for the soup.

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Our sweet little Mabel fits right in in this environment. She’s appears to be book-lover like the rest of us. When you sit down with a book, you can bet she’ll come running to snuggle while reading.

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Week 20

Memory Verse: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Hymn: Jesus Paid it All

Artist: Claude Monet

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Five in a Row: Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell

Pre-K Literature: My Mama had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray

Read Aloud: The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

A Few Photos From Last Week:

We’ve finally reached the point in math where not everything comes super easy to him like it always has. He used to zip through it in 5-10 minutes. Now he probably spends a good 25-30 minutes on his daily assignment. He’s been doing a great job with the shift in difficulty.

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Caroline has been working hard in her math book as well.
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We’ve enjoyed the company of our newest little friend, Mabel. We’ve attempted pet ownership a few times before and it hasn’t worked out for a number of reasons, but the kids have been longing for an animal companion so we gave it one more try. She’s the perfect pet for us! She enjoys overseeing our school work and snuggling while we read, but she doesn’t steal our attention off of what we’re trying to do. She’s such a laid back sweet girl!
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Last week we began studying a new artist, Claude Monet. The kids are relieved to see some brighter and more colorful paintings, after spending the previous eight weeks on Rembrandt whose work is pretty dark.
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For the spring semester, Elliot and Josh will be learning some Texas history together. I’ve found some good reading material that they’ll be using. We’re looking forward to a trip to Austin to see the Capitol and The Bob Bullock Texas History Museum and to San Antonio to see the Alamo sometime in April.
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Reproducible Activities to go in his Texas History Notebook
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First Few Pages for his Notebook
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Filling the Treasure Box- New Curriculum Picks for Next Year

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If you haven’t noticed, I love planning for our homeschooling and each year I start earlier and earlier for the following year. It feels more like a hobby now because it’s something I do for the enjoyment of it instead of just because it’s part of my duty as a homeschooling mom. There’s something about piecing together just the right curricula, books and other materials that compliment each other and contribute to building a rich and exciting homeschool year that thrills me. It’s like putting together a puzzle and when I find a piece that fits well with what I’ve already got, it makes my day.
Ever since this school year started, I’ve been working on my plan for next year and collecting up the things I’ll be using. I’ve been storing it all away in what is now affectionately referred to as our treasure box. When I open it up while the kids are around, they beg me to let them look through it, pull out stuff, and they want to know what will be used for who. Elliot has been known to beg me to let him start using some of it this year because he “just can’t wait”, but I stick to my guns about finishing what we’re doing this year and waiting until next year to dig into the new stuff.
By the end of this year, Elliot and I will have finished all the FIAR books I have planned for us to do (I believe it’s a total of 50 of them for all three years…wow.) and he’ll be ready to “graduate” onto more challenging things. It’s not the end of FIAR for us though, as Caroline and I will be starting back at the beginning. I’ll probably keep it pretty simple though, considering we are adding history and science for Elliot and I plan for her to be pretty involved in that as well.

So, without further ado, here’s a look at a few of the new things we’re going to be adding next year for third grade and kindergarten:

For history we’ll be doing a basic overview of world history. I’ve paired up a few different things to use together. Our “spine” is going to be A Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer.

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Along with that we’ll be keeping history notebooks with pages I purchased on a CD from Hold That Thought!. We’re also going to keep a timeline of the people and events that we learn about with Sonlight’s Book of Time and timeline figures.

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Book of Time and Timeline Figures

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Like I mentioned, our history text is just our spine which we’ll be adding lots of other books to, many of which we’ll get at our Library. We’ll be referring to Usborne’s Book of Living Long Ago throughout the year and several of our read-alouds will correspond with our history. I’ll also frequently be assigning Elliot extra reading in books that go along with what we’re learning in history.
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In addition to read-alouds that correspond with history, there are some on my list that we’re going to read “just because”, and these are a few of those.
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For Literature, Elliot will be using Progeny Press guides. These booklets contain things like reading comprehension, vocabulary and critical thinking, and they are written from a Christian perspective, so many of the “digging deeper” questions involve applying biblical truths to a certain situation.

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Elliot will also be finishing Explode the Code’s final book this year, giving him a firm phonics foundation, so we’ll be moving on to a spelling program, and I’ve chosen Simply Charlotte Mason’s Spelling Wisdom. Each of the books takes about two years to complete, and there are five books available in all so there are more than enough to use all the way through high school.

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Instead of lists of random words, the student learns new spelling words in the context of passages from great literary works, quotes, and scripture. About two passages are learned each week, wherein the student should be able to write it all correctly, including punctuation, when recited by the teacher.
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Finally, we’re adding Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy series for science. We’ll be working through the student journals as well as doing an experiment for each lesson.

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Supplies for Science Experiments

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You’d think I’d be satisfied for a while, but I’ve started working on the plans for the next two years as well. I’ve got folders where I keep a running list of ideas and books. Maybe I need to find another hobby???

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Week 19

Here’s a short and sweet update for our first week back at it after our long and wonderful Christmas break:

Memory Verse: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Hymn: Jesus Paid it All

Artist: Claude Monet

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Five in a Row: Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell

Pre-K Literature: My Mama had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray

Read Aloud: The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Our biggest recent news is that my husband, Josh, has started his own company and will soon be working full time out of our home. That’s right, all four of us will be here at home together each day! This has been our dream and ultimate goal ever since we started homeschooling. We love the idea of having our family here at home together, sharing experiences, and just growing and learning together. We’re excited about the opportunities this will give Josh to contribute to the kids’ education and most importantly, about the unique upbringing the kids will have not only being homeschooled but also having their Dad more involved in the daily routine and available to us. What a blessing!

Here’s Josh’s new work set-up, in one of our master bedroom closets. It’s bigger than the average closet and works great as an office! The best part is, when the day’s work is done, his commute to our living room is about ten seconds!

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Week 16

Memory Verse: I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13

Hymn: O Holy Night

Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Five in a Row: Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (studying the American Revolutionary War)

Pre-K Literature: The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting (focusing on the importance of learning to read)

Read Aloud:Abel’s Island by William Steig

Photos from the Last Week:

In addition to our school read-aloud, Elliot and Josh are reading Mr. Revere and I, Caroline and I are reading Stuart Little, and now the kids are in the middle of reading James and the Giant Peach together. Furthermore, Elliot’s always got at least one book he’s reading his own and last week he achieved his goal of reading his 100th book in 2012!

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She’s moved beyond the three letter words and is always impressing me with what she can read.

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She wanted to go all the way to 100 with our place value village, so we went for it.

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Nine groups of ten were moved to the tens house, and then with the last group of ten, they all got moved into one big bag and moved over to the 100s house.

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We enjoyed having the freedom to take a break and go watch Josh’s flag football game in the middle of the day.

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Week 15

Memory Verse: I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13

Hymn: O Holy Night

Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Five in a Row: Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (studying the American Revolutionary War)

Pre-K Literature: The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting (focusing on the importance of learning to read)

Read Aloud:Abel’s Island by William Steig

Photos from the Last Week:

I made a “Bible Verse Puzzle” with some popcicle sticks. I timed them to see how fast they could put it in the correct order and we’re going to try to improve each time we do it.

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Done!

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Sight Words and Letter Tiles

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This was another pinterest find. We call these our “Bob Blocks”. We can make (and practice reading) sentences with them that are much like the sentences found in her Bob Books.

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Speaking of Bob Books, I also found a great little check list with all the books on Pinterest. She is super excited to mark one off each week. She’s almost done with the second pack.

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After finishing our Medieval Era unit, Elliot and I went on a fun date together to Medieval Times.

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We were rooting for the yellow knight.

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Our yellow knight ended up being the champion! What fun!

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Week 14

Memory Verse: I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13

Hymn: O Holy Night

Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Five in a Row: The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl (studying the medieval period)

Pre-K Literature: Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (studying weather and storms)

Read Aloud:The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Photos from the Last Week:

He was able to watch the election results for a while and color in states on his map as they were won.

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He usually comes up with his own ideas for creative writing, but every now and then he gets stuck. I got this great little story starter flip book at Mardel that gives him ideas for different characters, setting and plot of a story.
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She’s got number order down pat.

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She’s getting close to finishing book one of Explode the Code.
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Though I’m not a big fan of frequent sweets, I decided we’d do something special and bake a cake since both of their books have a cake theme. In Elliot’s book, the duchess gets herself into trouble by haphazardly throwing ingredients together and not following a recipe or measuring things out, so we talked about how important that is and practiced doing the measuring of ingredients.

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Caroline got her chance to help as well. Her book, Thunder Cake, is all about overcoming fears, and she faced a fear of her own as she used the beater. She’s not a fan of loud things!

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Here is our finished Thunder Cake/ Lovely, Light (ok, maybe not at all light), Luscious, Delectable Cake. Boy was it good!
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We have enjoyed these as read aloud books so much! They are simply adorable and my kids have never rolled around the floor giggling as much as they have with these. They’ve just strengthened our Winnie the Pooh love even more. Caroline is dying to go back to Disney World to have breakfast with Pooh and friends again!

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Josh, who is the artist of the family has been wanting to do some painting with the kids for a while now. The kids have been very inspired by the artists we’ve studied so they’re been eager to do “real paintings” with Daddy, so we got some canvases and let them go for it. Josh also taught them all about making new colors since we only had the three primary colors and black and white.

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Week 12

Memory Verse: Finally, Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Five in a Row: The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold

Pre-K Literature: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Read Aloud: Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Photos From the Last Few Weeks:

Her Very Wonderful Aunts

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He was working on a a list of his favorite homophones.
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We recently tried out a homeschool gym class that is right down the road from us.
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They loved it and can’t wait to go back!
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Introduction to Rembrandt
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Beethoven

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Week 10

We had another great week last week and also have some exciting news! Josh and I will be traveling to London and Paris soon. An opportunity emerged that we couldn’t pass up. Though they are a little sad they aren’t coming along, the kids are excited for us and Elliot is especially thrilled that we can take lots of pictures for him to see. France and England have both been places he and I have studied together in the past so he’s pretty familiar with them. Caroline is aware of the existence of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and she also knows her aunt, uncle, and cousins lived in France for a while to learn French before heading to Africa (French-speaking country) to serve as missionaries. We’re hoping someday we can take the kids to Europe so they can see it all for themselves.

Here’s what’s going on this coming week:

Memory Verse: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:6-7

Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Five in a Row: Truman’s Aunt Farm by Jama Kim Rattigan (learning about homophones)

Pre-K Literature: Aunt Mary’s Rose by Douglas Wood (learning about plants, roses, and focusing on aunts in our family study)

Read Aloud: The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson (Set in Paris!)

A Few Photos From Last Week:

When we placed our story disk for Truman’s Aunt Farm, we were supposed to choose a location where one of his aunts live since no setting is given in the story. Elliot has four wonderful aunts to choose from and decided to stick the disk on Boston, where his Aunt Buzzy lives.

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Caroline’s book also has an aunt theme. She practiced writing her aunts’ names.

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Practicing Number Order

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I just thought I would showcase Elliot’s beautiful cursive writing. I’ve been amazed by how quickly he’s picked it up after just nine weeks of instruction. He pretty much does all his work in cursive now and he loves practicing in his free time as well. This assignment was sentences I dictated and he wrote down that contained words with silent t’s, which he had practiced in his Explode the Code lesson./strong>

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After our last eight-week long read aloud, we decided to go with something short and simple last week. We read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and finished it by Wednesday. We really enjoyed this sweet story and we had a great discussion about the moral lesson it teaches.

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We learned lots of new words while reading The Hundred Dresses, disconsolate being one of them.

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We enjoyed another great nature walk last week. Our objective was to find and observe some ant hills since we are studying ants (in addition to aunts!) but we came across so many other interesting things as well. It seemed like new things were popping out in front of us at every turn. It just goes to show how much we probably miss when we aren’t actively looking for things to learn about in the world around us.

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We found a mushroom.

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Elliot drew a snail shell he found in his nature journal. Caroline drew the swings at the park. We’re still working on grasping the whole natural versus man-made concept. She said, “But they’re just so beautiful!”

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Grasshoppers were all over the place!

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We found this little lizard on the sidewalk. We weren’t exactly sure what kind it was (gecko?), but it sure appeared to be blending in with its surroundings (the sidewalk) so much so that we almost didn’t see it. Sadly, it was not alive.

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