Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Free or Really Cheap Homeschooling Stuff? Yes, Please!!

With the rise of the homeschooling movement, there have popped up so many amazing homeschool themed blogs and websites. I have to admit, it takes some real self-discipline to not spend all my free time reading them (because I have so much of that these days). There are two, however, that I make sure to get directly in my email inbox: Freely Educate and Frugally Educate. The first is obviously the one with all the freebies, and the second shares great deals on family and educational products. I'm all about great deals! Who isn't?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Homeschooling with Little Ones

I've had many conversations with my homeschooling friends lately about the challenges of teaching my two school-age children with all the distractions and interruptions that come with having two younger children in the home. I've even been weighing all the options of how to help our school time run more smoothly, such as finding activities to entertain the little ones, hiring a part-time sitter, or using a mother's day out program.
The truth is I don't have the right answer, but I know I'm not alone in this quest for a peaceful homeschooling day. Does that really ever happen anyway? Here is a really great article, called "The Baby is the Lesson" by Diane Hopkins, that helped me gain some perspective on this topic.
So if you are a homeschooling mom with little ones, please share what works (or doesn't) for you in a typical school day. Maybe we can help each other!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Day of School 2011-12

It can be a little scary to start something new. Our first day of school was August 1st. Joshua is now in 2nd grade, Ella is in Kindergarten, and Brooke is in PreK. For the first few weeks, we will be learning about the Bible, math, reading, and writing. On August 23rd, we'll begin our new exciting venture into Classical Conversations, a group that meets one morning a week to equip parents and students with the classical tools of learning. Alongside other homeschooling families, CC will help us to cover history, geography, Bible, science, english grammar, latin, fine arts, and some math curriculum. We will also be using Math-U-See for math and First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease, and All About Spelling for language arts at home. A wonderful book that I believe every parent, homeschooling or not, would benefit from reading is The Core by Leigh Bortins. This book has taught me so much about how children learn and how to focus on the things that matter most in their education.
It can be a little scary to start something new...but just as with our decision to homeschool, Classical Conversations is something we believe the Lord has led us to and that's enough reason for me to get excited about what's in store for us.
Here are some pictures of our first day of school:
We started with a special rainbow pancake breakfast. The kids really enjoyed helping make this.
Joshua - 2nd Grader with a Darth Vader thermos

Ella - K. She wanted to hold her puppet.

Brooke - PreK. So cute with her Mickey Mouse ears and puppet.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Big Picture Story Bible - Review

The Big Picture Story Bible

We received The Big Picture Story Bible last year as a gift from our pastor in Las Vegas and it has turned out to be one of the best gifts for our family. Every morning at breakfast, I read a chapter to the kids and they always BEG for me to read more. This isn't like any other children's Bible we've seen. The author, David Helm, does a wonderful job of showing children that the Bible isn't just a collection of stories, but the one very important true story of God's big promise. The illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker are so vivid and captivating, my children enjoy every page. I highly recommend this book if you are a parent or teacher of young children. You will not be disappointed!

Monday, January 10, 2011

FREE Funnix Reading Program-January only

Funnix is the computer version of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which is what we use to teach our kids to read. For the month of January only, they are offering a free download of their entire reading program containing 220 lessons, which retails at $249. You download it all at once, no monthly subscription or hidden fees. Just click on this link for details. Just fyi, it downloads in two parts and each part takes a good while to download. I've been doing the book lessons with Ella and she's excited to try the computer lessons. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today I Learned About...

Every night when Daddy gets home from work, he asks Joshua what he learned in school today. Joshua's response is always "I don't know" and Daddy has to ask a hundred questions to pry it out of him or Mommy has to remind him. So I decided to make a "Daddy Sheet" for Joshua to complete as we're doing his lessons throughout the day. As soon as we complete a lesson, I ask him what one thing he'd like to share with Daddy about what he just learned. In the box for that subject, he can draw a picture, write words or numbers, or do both. We don't do every square everyday because we don't do all subjects everyday. Joshua likes it because it's easier for him to share with Daddy what he's learning, I like it because it helps keep me accountable, and Daddy likes it because he gets to see and talk about what Joshua's learning everyday. Here is an example:

If you would like to download this sheet, click here. Here is another form without the subjects listed in the boxes so you could write in your own.
How do your students share what they're learning with others? Please share any ideas!Photobucket
This post has been submitted to Helpful Homeschool Hints.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Time4Learning

Our family had the privilege to try out Time4Learning, an online home education program, for 30 days in exchange for a candid review. When I initially heard of Time4Learning, I didn't look into it too much because I figured why pay for online educational games when there seems to be plenty of free ones out there. (The program costs $19.95 a month for one child and $14.95 a month for each additional child.) What I didn't realize, however, is that there is much more to this program than any typical computer game. It can be used as an entire curriculum for preschool, elementary, and middle school students. The student typically begins by watching an animated lesson on a particular concept. Then there are interactive activities to help him learn and review the concept, followed by a quiz to assess his understanding. What I love most about the program are the parent reports that I could print out to see how they were doing.
My oldest, Joshua, began with first grade level math and language arts, but we realized quickly that he needed to move up to second grade language arts. It was easy to move the kids up or down a grade level once we realized where they needed to be. Ella really enjoyed her preschool lessons. Both of the kids love working on the computer and would ask me every morning if they could do their "computer school." Since we already have a curriculum for this year, I used it as a supplemental program. Instead of telling them which lessons to work on, I just gave them free reign to move through the lessons at their own pace. I knew I could check the parent reports later to see if they were really answering the questions correctly. It was a great way to make sure the kids were doing something productive with school when I couldn't give them one-on-one time, such as when I was working with another child, doing laundry, or feeding the baby. I would most likely not use it as a core curriculum for our family because I tend to lean more towards classical homeschooling. But all in all, I and my two little brainiacs were very impressed with the Time4Learning program and highly recommend that others check it out to see if it would be a good fit for them.

Disclosure: I received a free month trial of Time4Learning in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are entirely my own.