Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monthly Themes for Homeschooling

I am trying to do some monthly themes since E is in kindergarten and I loved doing themes as a preschool teacher. We are still following certain curriculums but I thought the themes would be fun to give us extra things to do and learn about. So here they are, in case you're curious! Themes change every two weeks and we do not do traditional holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine's etc.

I have ideas plotted out to go with each one and will post them as the time gets closer!

Monthly Themes

Angry Birds



Penguins/Polar Bears

Dental Health

Human Body
Dr. Seuss




Outer Space/Star Wars

~~What are your favorite themes?? Feel free to share them and delight me with a comment!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Day in the Life of Homeschooling

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One of my favorite books about homeschooling is Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families that shows how so very different every homeschooling family is. I enjoyed the book and in talking with other homeschooling families I realize it really is true. So, I thought I'd share our journey with you, periodically!

6:30am: The alarm clock for my husband goes off, I poke him to make sure he's up and heading out the door by 6:45. The dog steals his spot in the bed and we sleep until my alarm goes off at
7:30 am: The beauty of homeschooling is I'm not rushing around, even though it's currently summer, and we wouldn't have a bus to catch, there is simply no rush. I lounge around, roll out of bed, make myself semi-human and emerge from my room around
7:45-8:00: The time is fuzzy on this because I'm pre-coffee. Often I'm awoken by fight and screams but today I find them curled up on the sofa watching Peter Rabbit on Nick. I decide to snuggle with them a few minutes and that seems to make a world of difference. I get a lot of "I Love Yous" and snuggles before making myself get up to start breakfast and most importantly, coffee.

8:45: By now some form of breakfast has been started and possibly eaten. They continue to watch TV while I eat breakfast and watch my Golden Girls (shut up, I love that show.) Once coffee is in, I fully intend to get up and get going on cleaning, but I get sidetracked by my iPad. I check emails for my business, fart around on facebook, and check our Homeschool Helper app.

9:00ish: The best friend calls and we talk off and on for a couple of hours, which is not a very common occurrence but somehow my boys were occupied with Legos and leave us to our conversation for quite awhile.

A rainstorm is threatening to take place so I get the lead out and by

11:30: Get our lunch made and eaten so we can get on our way to the library. We need to pick up a book for our  (FIAR) curriculum and they're holding it for us.

12:30: We've gotten our book from the library along with a few more, one Egyptian one since that's what we're studying in history (Story of the World, Volume 1) and one about a Ghost Eye Tree, which works out since our Five in a Row (Five in a Row): Volume 1 FIAR book is Storm in the Night and we are in the midst of thunderstorm season, so this works out perfect! In fact we just beat a storm and get home before it starts pouring.

1:00-3:30: We work on actual school. Both boys do Lesson 11 of Saxon Math (Year 1 and 3) with minimal fussing. I find Saxon to be super easy to follow, instructional enough to ease my math fears but flexible enough for me to skip stuff, or gloss over things they already know.
When I work with one child on math, I send the other to play quietly or in "centers" (shelves set up in the living room with toys, games, educational activities. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't, and today it works.

After Math, we work on FIAR and read our storm inspired books, which is great since we are reading them, snuggled on a sofa in front of a stormy window! The boys go off on a tangent about storms, and cats, and hurricanes. Harrison and I have a quick lesson about Italics and Quotation Marks.

I redirect them so we can do History The Story of the World which is a discussion about Egyptians and hieroglyphics. We read the additional library book we picked up and Harrison is intrigued by the stone and clay buildings they lived in. The book suggests making a clay Egyptian home so we do. Eli's quickly turns into a house for Luke Skywalker on Tatoonie, but he's 5 and we let that stuff go. He still absorbed things! Harrison does a little mapwork and a coloring page to go along with the chapter. Eli even asks to do a map page, and apparently paid attention to my directions because he colors the two areas of the map correctly!

Once we get cleaned up from History and our clay houses, we start Science which is Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 It's slow going because it is a lot of reading, but I feel it's a very well rounded curriculum with a Christian perspective which is what I want. Harrison has to write down a short review of what he's learned in the chapter, and that's a little tough, as he hates writing. I wonder if letting him read it himself and then discussing it would help him absorb better, I'm still figuring out his learning styles. Since the book focuses on flying creatures, and we started learning about birds, I get out the Audubon coloring pages I have and told him to pick his favorite. He chooses the wild turkey and he colors it while I look up the sounds a wild turkey makes on the iPad. (Ducky Dynasty episodes play in my head at the same time.) I remind them we'll go on a nature scavenger hunt later and I get a mixed review of yeahs and nahs. Oh well, kiddos, it's in the plan and I know you'll have fun once we go!

3:45: We get things cleaned up, grab a snack, turn out the lights and get ready for our Scavenger Hunt! The first nature area I want to go to, I forget is closed on Mondays, so we head off to a nearby town. I again get stuck when they are doing road work and I take the long way around back to our town and the other side of it to an area called the Rigolets near Fort Pike. (Not a great day for limiting my gas consumption, but ya know...). All on the way we look for birds and other things on our list. As we near the Rigolets we find plenty of birds as the storm in the Gulf sends them inland.

We throw rocks in the water, we find birds, a crab and a few bugs. We mark off our findings and only have on misadventure of them being scared of dragonflies (it was a LOT of dragonflies, but come on boys!) But instead of totally falling out that the entire day is ruined, I'm able to redirect my "sky in falling" Harrison to admit he had a blast throwing rocks and finding the crab even if the dragonflies scared him. We bring our findings (rocks, a cicada shell and the feather we found a few days ago) to roost on our window sill in their "collection spot".

5:30: The boys request "alone time" which is pretty much code for tearing up their room, but since I'm peopled out I oblige. They've gotten along quite well for the day with only a few timeouts for potty mouths (REALLY trying to curb mean talk, potty talk or anything of the kind.) and only a few scraps. They play in their room while I am able to start dinner and have an adult beverage. (My blueberry vodka lemonade, find it in my recipes tab.)

6:30: Daddy is home!! Dinner is ready and waiting on the table (NOT a common occurrence!) We eat a fairly whine free dinner. After dinner I start the dinner dishes while they do chores from their Choreganizers, which I LOVE. They get things a bit spiffier and spend time with Daddy. After dishes are done and leftovers put away, I sneak off to work on an order from my Etsy shop and sit down to write this piece out!(which takes awhile!) While I write this piece, Daddy gives them baths and they play/watch TV in the front. Bedtime snack, brush teeth, book, prayers and bedtime!

This is just ONE day. For our summer session we really only do school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because Tuesdays/Thursdays/Sundays, I go work out with the BFF and if the weather cooperates we go swimming. (What a tortured life they lead!) There are also days of errands, visiting grandparents, playdates, parks, and more. The home in homeschooling is a bit of a myth I'm afraid.

Our work load isn't terribly much now either because I'm not doing it "all". Come Labor Day when we pick up fall session, we will add Phonics for Eli; Geography for both; Grammar for Harrison; more handwriting for Eli with emphasis on fine motor activities; Spelling for both; and a general 'theme' every two weeks for added things like music, art and crafts. Will we get it all done? I'm quite sure not. Will we have fun trying? I hope so!

Once upon a time, I enjoyed teaching! I feel like homeschooling is bringing back that part of me that I used to be fairly good at!

There are various reasons why I'm homeschooling but I am definitely accepting it more and enjoying it more. I'm not as frustrated, tired and DONE at the end of the day as I thought I'd be!

And trust me, I do not just sit down and DO these things! I sit down, once a week and plan everything out, making sure I have the right books, papers copied, the math lessons prepped, etc. I double check the night before that I've gotten it all ready. I'm intrigued by the unschoolers of the world because my brain just doesn't compute that!

So this was just one day in our world, hope you enjoyed the ride!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Went Viral...I Think!

The very lovely ladies over at Northshore Parent asked me to do a guest blog post about why Common Core was the final straw in my decision to home school. I have a big mouth and don't mind spilling my guts, so I obliged.

Well, I apparently hit a nerve because the post has been liked and shared over 10k times. Even I, an online business owner, knows that is a pretty awesome hit count in a few days!!

So if you are so inclined, I know I've discussed it a bit here as well as other reasons we decided to home school, please check out the post over on Northshore Parent and check out their facebook page, lots of great ideas and things to do in the area!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Junior Scientists

Lately my son is very into science, so naturally his little brother goes along for the ride.

We did a little messy Ooblick, which every child loves! Cornstarch and water, always a hit!

And we are using Apologia: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and di a little study on habitats.

And of course we're obsessed with Star Wars and we froze Han Solo in carbonite.

They have re-frozen Han and Luke about ten times since the original time, hope he survives. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Homeschooling Progress

I am definitely the Hesitant Homeschooler, as my blog name says, but I'm pleasantly surprised that we are making it. We've had some very rough days of the boys (and I) totally losing our ever loving minds, but we've had good days of getting work done in a timely fashion so we can play with friends, go swimming, etc.

We've cut way back on the screen time, they only get it on Sundays, with limited TV during the week (which has mostly lately entailed of Star Wars movies...they're obsessed.) This has resulted in much less fussing, bad attitudes, and scary mommy. I'm making a very concerted effort to yell less, listen more, and learn their learning styles. 

So things are moving along...I'm not saying it's easy, I'm not saying I wouldn't send them back to school if I could, but I admit it's going okay, and I'm learning a lot about them as human beings, and myself. We have just four more weeks of "summer school" and then we take a month off!! I've timed it so we can be off when public school while other kids head off on buses, we head off to the pool!!

I'm looking forward to some upcoming field trips and projects I have planned for them. I'm not sure how much Eli is really getting since Kindergarten work isn't very labor intensive and he's basically ahead of where he should be, so I'm working mostly with him on the basic 3 R's and social/emotional activities.

My buddies...

 Boba Fett climbing a tree.
 We spent a cloudy but beautiful Sabbath on the lakefront recently.
 He's looking so grown up!
 What, you don't see Boba Fett in your town out and about?

Testing the lake water.

Can't wait to see what we get into in the coming weeks!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fun on the Fourth and More

Summer has been pretty good so far! We've been knocking things off our Bucket List, which is good since I KNOW they will soon whine, "We didn't do ANYTHING this summer!" and I can directly point to the Bucket List.

We had some fun this Fourth of July, and I hope you all did, and took the time to remember what is really important about our countries Independence. 

 Made a yummy flag inspired dessert!

 Smoke Bombs are always a favorite, especially for Eli, he hates the noisy fireworks.

 Harrison rocking his Duck Dynasty shirt with sparklers.

 Eli, aka, Anakin Skywalker, even put on a brave face and used a sparkler.

 Managed to get a few fireworks shots!

Hope everyone had a great Fourth!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Growing it out for Merry...COMPLETE!

Back in April, 2011, I started growing my hair out for a very lovely friend, Merry, and over two years later, here we are...and my hair was long enough and has been CUT!!!

Yes my hair grows slow...

Thankfully Merry is feeling good, and has beaten breast cancer!!! But sadly several other friends have discovered they have it and are currently fighting it, not to mention so many others I don't know. So for all these brave fighters...I chopped my hair for you!

My hair will be sent to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. I'm getting used to my short sassy hair, even if my husband isn't!! :)

 Before the big cut!

No turning back!!

There we go! 13 inches CUT OFF!

And here we are...short and sassy!

I hope my hair can bring a little happiness to a brave, strong, woman. Thanks to God for the gift of health He's given me, for healing my friend and please watch over and heal those still fighting this battle!

If you initially indicated you wanted to sponsor my hair growth, I have your contact information and I'll be dropping you an email! :)

If you'd still like to donate you can fill out this form: or you can just donate to your chosen Cancer organization!



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