Friday, November 2, 2012

Homeschool Thanks Days #1 and #2

On Facebook, I am writing my personal list of things I am thankful for. On here though I thought I would write what I am thankful for specific to homeschooling. Of course this may sometimes involve my family life because it is a big part of our family life, but there are so many things I am thankful for just in that part of my life that it's worth its own list.

Day #1

Yesterday when I was trying to think of some emotional and lofty thing that I was thankful for to dd to the obligatory post on the first day of November the first thing that popped into my head was the library. I know that sounds strange and I did end up talking about how thankful I am for my husband which of course is absolutely true, but our local library has been essential in our homeschooling journey so far. Beyond the basics of read alouds and readers for my daughter, I have also been able to access materials for almost every topic that I've covered so far this year. Our library also has a small section devoted to homeschool resources that can be taken out for as long as they are needed. Books Plus Kits have also provided hours of education and entertainment. These are essentially large upright suitcases on wheels packed full of books and hands on activities related to a certain subject or concept. So far we have used and enjoyed: Weather, Time and Measurement, Dinosaurs, Family Fun, Early Literacy,and Life Science. Each one comes with so many opportunities to learn and have fun! Our library also offers lots of different children activities. So far this year we haven't been able to participate in many because of scheduling conflicts, but we have made Happy Tales twice and it has been a great experience for our daughter. Happy Tales is an hour long activity ran once a week where trained therapy dogs come to the library and children are able to read to them. This has been of immeasurable worth to my daughter as a new reader and a child with a stutter. She has grown so much with the chance to read to a non judgemental, non correcting ear. I am so thankful for this opportunity and have sang the praises of this program to many. We go to our local library at least once a week and I can't say enough how thankful I am for it!

Day #2

So this brings me to what I am thankful for today, speciafically to do with homeschooling. I am simply thankful for the chance, opportunity, and ability to homeschool. I live in New York state and it is not considered one of the easiest states to homeschool in. I knew this going in, but after reading the requirements I knew that it was very doable and that as long as I did what was required of the state I would be fine. I was working full time when my husband and I decided to homeschool, so there was also the fact that we would be losing an income to contend with. God provides! We have had to cut things out and make some decisions, but it has all been worth it to be able to do waht we feel is best for our daughter's education and our family as a whole. I'm not going to say that I'm the best teacher or that I even feel capable some days because that simply wouldn't be true. I do, however feel blessed to be able to be responsible for what my daughter is learning and to know everything that she is being exposed to. She was in public school for two years and while I can't say that there was any single thing that made we say, "we need to get her out of there!" there were a lot of little things that bothered me along with the nagging conviction from God that my husband and I both had since before our daughter was born to homeschool that convinced us we were making the right decision. So, the fact that we have the choice to educate at home, we felt lead to make the choice, and I feel capable of following through with that choice (with God's strength and guidance) is why I am thankful today :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Catching Up On The First Quarter

We are done with our first quarter of our first year of homeschooling already. I can't believe it. It truly has gone by so fast. I can't say that things have gone by as smoothly as I would have liked everyday, but all in all it has been great and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We have covered a lot of ground in math already and it's so awesome to see how much she progresses everyday. In English, we reviewed things that she learned last year such as short and long vowel sounds and then went on to talk about nouns, verbs, and adjectives. I love hearing her read. She is really coming along and is so proud of herself! In Science we covered the days of Creation, the solar system, weather, and life cycles among other things. We have been taking a relaxed walk through American history through The American Girl books. We have talked about Native Americans through the Kaya books and Colonial times through the Felicity books. We worked on map skills in Geography and are getting ready to work our way through the United States using Road Trip USA by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. I am really happy about how our first quarter went and am really looking forward to the rest of the year! Now, here is a small glimpse into what we have done so far:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back on track and ready to go!

We are all moved in, well as moved in as we are going to be right now. A lot of things had to be shoved into our bedroom in order to clear out the school room. Priorities I guess :) We are so excited about starting homeschooling this coming Monday...eeek!!! Today our focus is on the Olympics though. We are also going to be tying them into school as much as possible. My Little One has been asking to homeschool since the minute we moved into the new house so she is beyond ready to start. Please think about us and pray as we embark on this journey.

Financially, we have been doing pretty well without me working. We are getting used to our new bills and making things work. Don't get me wrong it's not super easy, but it's worth it to us so we will make it work. I really need to get back into couponing, but am not looking forward to the time that it takes. So, I am focusing on other things like reusing things that we already have and making the most of our garden. The freezer is already filling up with green beans :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Changes

So the other big change that I alluded to in a previous post is that we are moving. This is not a somewhere down the road, distantly in the future move either. This is a pack up and go, be in there within a month or two kind of move. It's a long story and I'm too emotional drained at the moment to explain everything, but it feels good to write it down and throw it out into the blogospehere. It makes it feel more real so far.

The move is going to be very positive for our family in general, it's just the fact that it's a change piled on top of a change that's going to be hard. It's life changing enough to leave a job, take your child out of public school, and begin homeschooling them. Then add in a move?? So, I need to focus on packing now, which I can't stand! The one good thing is that it gives me an opportunity to weed things out that we don't need anymore. I plan to do a lot of that within the next few weeks. So here's to moving the important things :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finding my Homeschool Style and Curriculum

I think anyone who is or has looked into homeschooling can say that finding out your style is one of the most important first steps i taking the leap. I prayed and looked into a lot of different things with my husband before coming up with what we are going to do, at least for now. I guess if I needed to label my style it would be eclectic, with Charlotte Mason tones. We are teaching a Christian worldview through all subjects and using the Bible as the basis for all that we do. I know that I can not plan the next 10,5, or even first year ahead of us completely. I let go of that notion rather quickly! I do, however feel that I have a sense of what we will be doing through at least the first half of this year, as long as it goes smoothly. Our little one will be coming off of two years in the public school system so there will be some major adjustments there. I know a lot may argue that I should give her the whole summer to decompress, but I feel that I know my daughter and that wouldn't be best for her. So, the plan is to start on July 30th on a year round schedule which gives her a month off before going back into it. I am not using a first grade "out of the box" curriculum, but instead am using a lot of different resources pulled together. It will look a bit like this:

Math: Horizons 1 (I have heard mixed reviews on this product, but feel that the spiral approach will be best for my daughter. We shall see)

Science: On Eagle's Wings: Considering God's Creation (I know that this curriculum is set at a higher grade level, but I think it will work really well for what we want to cover this year) and living books for each subject area.

Social Studies: A few different curriculum items for certain subjects, but mostly living books and hands on activities. I'm going to focus a lot on geography this year and we plan on covering: Mapping, Continents and Oceans, and American history at least through Westward Expansion

Language Arts: I am also using a lot of different resources for this subject. We are going to be working on phonics and undoing a lot of the whole word learning that she has done in public school. She is an emergent reader with a few bad habits. I am also going to be working a lot on handwriting since this was never addressed in public school. I will be using A Reason for Handwriting A for this. We will also be doing Read Alouds and activities to go with them.

Bible: We will be using a lot of different resources and activities to go along with a straight walk through the Bible and family worship times. This subject will also be weaved throughout everything we do.

So on paper it looks like I don't have much of a plan, but I feel confident that it will be a great year! I am planning on using my daughter's strengths and interests to guide out learning. I think lapbooking will be a great outlet for her with a lot of what we do. I also love Pinterest and all the ideas on there :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I hate spending money, but...

...I got a new laptop! The one I was using was having some major problems and cutting out on me a lot. It happened four times while I was setting up the blog last night. My husband is great and insists that I buy things when I need it even if I fight tooth and nail. He also got us a wireless printer for the house and especially homeschool :) We are going through some other changes right now as well. Sometimes I'm concerned that there are too many, but God knows what we can handle. Also, I will start adding pictures too since I love taking them and I know people love looking at them. I just need to get situated here on the blog and on the new laptop. Thanks for reading :)

Rainy Days and Birthdays

Today's constant drizzle made me think about how much I am looking forward to rainy days when I come home. I have warm and fuzzy images of cuddling up with my little one reading and enjoying each other as she grows and learns. I know that this may not be the most accurate view of what our average homeschool days are going to look like, but it gives me a light to follow through the drudgery that is working in the public school system and putting my last few weeks in.

My little one's 6th birthday is this Sunday. The day she was born was a Saturday and her first whole day was Mother's Day. What an awesome gift! Not only because she was our first and I was finally "really" a mom, but because she was healthy and strong. See, she came 8 weeks early and only measured at 28 weeks gestation. She was our 2 lb. 2 oz. , 13 in. long bundle. Due to health complications that I didn't even know that I had, she had stopped growing in the womb at around 28 weeks and needed to be taken by c-section after I was put on bedrest and went through a battery of tests. She came out breathing on her own and pretty much maintained her own body temperature! These both being quite a feat for most micro-preemies like her. She only stayed in the hospital for 40 days and came home right before my birthday in June at a whopping 3 lb. 10oz. So, for all these reasons, and the fact that we have all but decided that she will be our only one (unless God has other plans) birthdays are a big deal in our house, especially for our little one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Here I go...

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now. I love to write and get my ideas out there. I just couldn't quite find the direction I wanted to go in (and I'm not not most computer saavy person). The direction issue is why this has really been so long in making (my amazing sister Jenn from Dainty Revelations has gotten me over the computer issue: she has encouraged me, walked me through the startup process step by step, and made my banner).  When my daughter was a baby, she is 6 now, I thought about doing a mommy blog. She was a preemie and I was nursing and I wanted to chronicle that. Well, that never happened. I went back to work, got busy, and well you get the picture. Then about a year ago I started getting into couponing and thought that was the way to break in. I could submerge myself in that already oversaturated market! That idea fizzled as it wasn't really where my heart was. A few months ago, my husband reintroduced the idea of homeschooling our daughter to me. Basically he came home and said I want you to not go back to work at the high school next fall and homeschool. I don't think I even hesitated! So, the countdown has begun to coming home again, home again jiggity jigg!