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Happy NOT back to school day!

Yesterday was the first day of public school in our county, and with one glance on facebook you could feel the excitement in the air! The two years before this I had a bittersweet feeling on that day, but time has changed things. Now I see how well this is working for us and has truly become our lifestyle. I was happy for all those excited kids, teachers and parents, but in no way did I want anything to do with it. I asked the girls how they felt about it and if they missed that first day and public school in general. Madison said no way (with enthusiasm) and Chloe said she sort of misses the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting new ones, but that there’s no way she wants to go back.
Last year on this day I took the kids to a movie, this year I hosted a party here at the house with some other homeschooling friends. It just feels like a great day to celebrate the beginning of something (even if it’s not our something) and to help the HSing kids and mommas have some fun of their own that day. The kids played in the pool, rode their bikes, played some xbox and had a great time. The mommas had a great time just hanging out and chatting.

We are getting away from grade levels since Madison started 6th grade work this year and Chloe started some 3rd grade work back in the spring. But, here are their first day of school pics!

5th grade
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3rd grade
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Yesterday was just the one day off in our school week, so it’s back to the grind again today. The girls’ wakeup cuddles are next on my to do list this morning!

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in School

 

Refresh the place!

We homeschool year round, but I still find I need to start fresh sometimes. About twice a year actually. So, I spent some time this weekend cleaning out our room, moving some things around and reorganizing everything. I was surprised by how much we don’t use anymore and how much trash was sitting around. Thankfully our homeschool group holds a curriculum sale every fall because I have some things I can sell now.
We started a regular Monday morning with a very clean room again!

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The history & geography corner
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The art & craft corner
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The science corner
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My supply corner
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Organization, School

 

Early morning routine

I am an early riser. Sure, there are days I sleep in, but they are not the norm. At one point, every school morning, I can be found at the table or computer with my cup of coffee, enjoying the low lighting and quiet house.
Plans and routines are great. I love them, I need them. Through homeschooling though I’ve learned that they shouldn’t be taken so seriously. I started our first year with a full year plan. I needed it then, but I laugh at it now. I moved on to planning half a year at a time with just an outline of subjects/chapters I wanted us to get through. That worked better, but I still couldn’t stick to it and that left me frustrated. What we are doing now is working…for now. I’ve learned to be open to change. It’s been a month and I haven’t found myself frustrated or having that worried and unaccomplished feeling I sometimes get. I made a calendar for the year that just mapped out when we would have time off. This actually is needed since we have 2 vacations to plan, we take long Christmas breaks and we school year round. I needed to see on paper that the girls were getting enough time for school. As it turned out, I needed to block off more breaks. After that calendar was made, I made a simple outline for just the first 6 weeks. (And it’s about time to sit down and do that again) That was the one thing that worked when I was planning half a year-a subject outline. I planned history topics, the country we would study, and the science chapters to work on. Their math and language don’t need planning though, it’s all just one lesson a day and in order. I look at the 6 week outline occasionally, but what helps the most, and is working the best, is our daily plan. Yes, I went from one year, to one day. I fill out our calendar book with a school ‘to do’ list for each girl. The girls know what they need to get done, I can plan my day around what they’ll need me for and what they won’t, and I have the book to turn in at the end of the year with their portfolios.

This calendar now joins my morning coffee routine and I feel ready to start the day.

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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Organization

 

Math is a quiet time too

Math isn’t always a blast either. Sometimes I can make it more interesting, but usually it’s just a lesson & practice work. They are keeping math journals this year which they seem to enjoy so far. Chloe had a new lesson today, division with remainders, and since I was eating lunch when she was ready, she joined me in the kitchen. Just for kicks I wanted to share with you a 2 minute glimpse at math. She had the lesson already and was doing her first problem alone. They don’t usually do the same subjects at the same time, but Madison happens to be in the background doing her math on the computer. Same with her language, we are trying a virtual class this year for her math. So far, it’s not working out well, but I’m not ready to pull her out yet. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on here before, but choosing curriculum does not get easier with each year.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Math, School

 
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The quiet times

There aren’t many ways to make language exciting. I really don’t even try, I just look at it as a “have to” subject. Like dishes or laundry. This is another side of homeschooling-the relaxing, just learning, side. What makes this special is that it’s our quiet time, and I love quiet time. I finished up my morning chores, hubby just left for work, dogs are napping, the only noises are the turtle tank fountain and the hum of the neighbor’s mower.

Madison is taking a virtual class for language and reading so this morning she’s reading her book for it. It’s very different from the fantasy and sci-fi she normally reads so it took her a couple chapters to get into it. Yesterday she started talking excitedly about it just like her Rick Riordan books she loves so much. She has already been reading for over an hour this morning, so it must still be good.
It’s called Out Of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Here’s a description-

“If there is one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it” (Denver Post).
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.

Chloe’s language this week is not from a lesson or textbook. She loves doodling and scribbling little notes, so she’s working on a cartoon this week. She did one yesterday, which was good, but it didn’t reach her potential. Today she’s starting a different one, so this morning she is brain storming the setting, characters, plot, etc. Of course her cartoon is going to be centered around Mine Craft. And kids. And a mom who wants chores done. I’m guessing it will only be different from every afternoon around here if she changes the character names ;-)

So, here’s what our school looks like when it’s time for language/reading/writing.

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Language, School

 

Dissecting a Mollusk

We are nearing the end of our science unit for the year, Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day and today the girls got to do the project they’ve been looking forward to and dreading just the same. The end of lesson 9 called for the dissection of a mollusk. I won’t show every picture I took because honestly it got gross. Once again they impressed me with what they remembered from the lesson and could talk about (kind of teaching me) as they opened the mollusk.
First, I’ll give you a glimpse of the notebooks they work on. Chloe has the junior edition which calls for more copywork and coloring, with limited labeling and review questions. Madison’s is more in depth and takes her much longer to finish. Chloe doesn’t want to do the Junior edition with our next unit, but that’s still being discussed ;-)

A page in Chloe’s journal. I don’t correct spelling errors in their journals. With this I’m more interested in what they remember and their narration abilities when asked to describe something or tell me about the lesson.
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A page in Madison’s journal.
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The project!!
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in School, Science

 

After our evaluation yesterday I decided to impress myself and start ahead of the game for next year. I’m not holding my breath that I stick with it, but I have these nice folders all ready for our current work to go in (the yellow ones are for this year). I’m celebrating that effort even if I don’t file their papers as often as I hope to.
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For a random update, our garden is not near as big as in the past years, but we are happy with what we get before the stink bugs get it. Because of those terrible critters I am pulling our tomatoes off the vines early and letting them ripen in the house. When we went tomato picking last year my mom mentioned that as a great way to get them before any bugs or blossom rot does. Blossom rot was a big problem in the Georgia field we visited last year. I have moved our garden for the 3rd year with no luck at controlling the stink bugs, so in an effort to keep up with picking them off the plants, we only have 4 tomato plants, 5 jalapenos, 3 green peppers and one random cantelope vine that popped up from last year. I miss my cucumbers & beans the most :-(

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Anyway, even though it is summer and we “officially” wrapped up last year with the evaluation, we are not taking a break. We continue to do lessons during the summer to make up for vacations we take when the weather is nice and hubby is less busy at work. And we also don’t even work our grade levels in time with evaluations. Chloe moved up to 3rd grade work a few months ago and Madison moved up to a little 5th grade and mostly 6th grade math a couple months ago. Our geography, history & science don’t have grade levels though. That may be why those are favorites and more fun for us ;-)

I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July! Ours was rainy & quiet. Very different from the past few years, but I didn’t hear any complaints ;-)

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in House, School

 
 
My crazy life with 4!

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