Sunday, February 26, 2012

Looking forward

I have been thinking a little bit lately about next year. This year has felt like such a whirwind that I feel like I am still catching my breath from having a baby. I am trying to go easy on myself and not constantly be thinking of all the things I "wish" I was doing differently this year. That being said, I still have a few things I definitely want to improve upon for next year.
One of the things I want to see the biggest improvement in for Isaac's third grade year is a bigger emphasis on our Bible time. I feel like I have let that really slide this year. In the past, we did our Bible time at the beginning of our school day. This year, because I have been busy with baby, Isaac has had to get started on his school alone, and we have let our Bible time fall by the wayside. I need to do a little research to find out what sort of curriculum to go with. I want to do something in addition to AWANA.
We will continue with A beka language arts.
I want him to continue penmanship (cursive), and I may keep using A beka, but I am not sure yet. It has worked fine for us.
For spelling, I may look into doing something a little more challenging. Isaac is a good speller in general, and I feel like we have zoomed through A beka second grade spelling. I also want him to learn the spelling for synonymns and antonymns. So far, A beka has not touched on those, and I feel like it is lacking in that area.
Math is my biggest question mark for next year, and I need to pray about the right curriculum. I am considering a video-based curriculum for third grade as I don't want my own math inadequecies to hinder him in any way.
We will definitely be doing Expedition Earth for world geography.
I want to find a good science curriculum for next year as well. This probably also needs to be an area of prayer and research.
For our reading curriculum, I may just work on finding books Isaac is interested in and possibly having him start writing book reports for me. I'll probably keep reading pretty simple as Isaac is an excellent reader, and I mostly just want to foster a love for reading above anything else.
So, unless something changes, the core subjects we will cover for third grade will be as follows: Language arts, reading, spelling, Bible, math, science and world geography.
Next year, Graham will be doing 5 year old preschool. I plan on doing Before five in a Row for him for sure. I may look into purchasing a curriculum for him, or we may just go through the letters of the alphabet again like we did this year. I will evaluate where he is at the end of this year and then decide what he can handle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gideon

Isaac had to write a paragraph about Gideon today. Here is what he wrote:
"Gideon was an ordinary guy until an angel appeared. He said, "Hello warrier." Gideon said "I am not a warrier, I am a farmer." Until one day Gideon and his men were sneaking outside the castle. They blew their horns and smashed pitchers. The bad guys were so confused that they started to kill themselves."
God saw Gideon as a warrier before he had lifted one weapon. God sees my children for what they will become someday, not just for the children they are now. I hope and pray that one day, they will be warriers for Him. Lord, please help me to point my children to You.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hornbachers

We've done a few field trips with our homeschooling group, but the trip to Hornbacher's has been one of our favorites! We toured the entire store...from the produce department, to the bakery and deli, to the refridgerators and floral department. Isaac and Graham had fun learning about the inner workings of a grocery store, and catching a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.
Double click the collage to see!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The other morning, I was visiting with another mom at a playgroup I was at. When I told her we were homeschooling, her first question was, "Do you have time for that?" The question caught me off-guard initially. I thought about it later and pondered why the question set me on edge a bit. I think it is the implication behind the question that homeschooling is something you "fit into" the day some how. Homeschooling isn't something you squeeze in between working out at the gym and going to work. Homeschooling is a way of life that permeates everthing you do. Yes, we have a set time we "do school," (i.e. the academics of homeschooling) but education permeates everything we do. Don't get me wrong--I am not one of those mothers who turns every trip to the grocery store into an all-out field trip (although we have actually done that a time or two!), but I do get the chance to have teachable moments with my children multiple times a day. I might catch a moment to teach Isaac about how to be a good friend when I see him treating his friend poorly, or I might correct his grammar when he is telling me somthing (yes, I admit, I do this 1,894 times per day and it will probably drive him to therapy someday). Or, like this morning, I might take a conversation about how old Grayson is to teach Isaac about how many weeks are in a month, how many weeks in a year, and so on, and have him add up weeks to tell me how many months old he is. I can use the current cold and flu season to teach Graham about why it's important to wash his hands, and the way our bodies work. I (try) to teach my children about the kind of love expressed in God's Word every day, through our interactions with each other. I am not perfect on this point, but this is where I can (try) to demonstrate the concept of forgiveness. I have thousands of teachable moments in any given day and we cover all sorts of topics. If I carved out "time" for these moments to magically happen, they probably wouldn't. I have to have three elements in place to make this happen every day--(1) a mom whose there, (2) a child whose there and (3) a willing heart to learn on the part of myself and my children. Once these three things are in place, the education can happen!
Shaping a little life entrusted to you by God is not something you make time for...it's the work of a lifetime, and I know it's what I was born to do.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back in the saddle again....

Whew!
There's only a few inches of space between the last post and this one, but those few inches represent a WHOLE lotta change going on in our family!
First and foremost is this guy

He is personally responsible for leaving our homeschool in complete upheaval! But boy, is he worth it!
We are finally getting back to the new "normal" around here. Which means school is back in session, with a few changes.
One of the big changes recently is Isaac becoming a lot more independent in his work. He was always pretty good about getting to his school work in the morning, but he's even better at it now! I just don't have the time to sit with him for every subject, so he gets up in the morning, has breakfast with us, and then heads to the basement to get started. I go through whatever he needs help with as he needs the help. Then, we finish our school day with US Geography and Five in a Row together.
Little monkey needs a little more of mama's time. And, being four, I don't feel intensely guilty if I can't do school with him every single day. This week has been great, and we have been on the letter "M." Guess what the theme of "M" week was? M&Ms!! Graham loved doing his math and sorting games with a giant bag of M&Ms, which he proceeded to eat after each day's lesson. Isn't he the cutest?



Oh, and take a look at our dog Griff eyeballing that candy waiting for the slightest misstep on Graham's part. He knows whose chair to sit by-that's for sure!
Having a newborn has been a good reminder for me about WHY I am homeschooling. It would be tempting for me to go into panic-mode thinking about the hours we have lost while I have been recuperating. But that's when I remember the beauty of homeschooling (flexibility!!!) and the reason why I'm doing it (to have a good relationship with my children, and to be able to teach them the things I value, as well as encouraging their personal walk with God).