The Living Homeschool

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Summer in full swing!

The weather is HOT! When it rains… it pours. My garden is looking parched and not bearing much fruit. The grass just keeps growing, though(Ugh). Luckily, I have a green thumb neighbor that gives us what she and her husband can’t eat. What a blessing!

I’m slowly finalizing our school year plans. Gathering all the supplies and making a wishlist for what we still need. I’m going to be trying some new things this year. One is going to involve the kids keeping a better track of what they do. To encourage better accountability and independence for those who need it. I will be making cards that will have their subjects and the time or pages they have for each day of the week and a place to mark off(or put a star). My dear friend Joy suggested this to me and I’m going to run with it. I’m also going to have each of  us, myself included, write up some goals to work towards during the schoolyear. Some will be more short term, like before Christmas break. Some will be long term, to finish out the year. As we get these done I will post our goals and the handout that I will make so that another family may be blessed.

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I’ve pulled my kids out of public school, now what?

When the Lord pressed upon me to homeschool my kids I researched all I could about how to do it and what to buy. The idea of homeschooling never crossed my mind before, nor did I know too many people who did it. I found it very overwhelming to start with all of my kids at once. Many homeschoolers started out before their kids were school-aged and others might have had one in school when the decision was made. So I found myself in a wealth of information that didn’t include much help for a mom like me. I prayed that the Lord would give me the strength and knowledge to carry on the journey.

A little bit about the beginning of our journey. I started schooling before the public schools started so I could have plenty of time to get us all acclimated. The Bible is our first lesson of the day. Sometimes we do a devotional and other times we just read from it. Our first purchased curriculum was all-inclusive. I took it one day at a time and started with only a couple of subjects. As the weeks passed I began to incorporate more subjects and life became pretty intense with rebellion. We soon found out that the curriculum that we had bought was not working for our family, me or the kids. We took a break and enjoyed the outdoors, museums and a local theatre. I then began our read-aloud time, for english, and soon found that this was one of the best things that has happened to us. The kids and I truly enjoy this bonding time. I found free online unit studies for history and science, alternating each of these. In my searches I discovered nature study and added it to our learnings. I had never thought of nature as a subject before but we do enjoy the Lord’s creation so it is a good fit for us. The math program that we have has been a blessing because all four kids love it and we can re-use with the youngers.

If  I had to pick one thing to focus on, the number one thing I suggest is to bond with your children. Get to know their likes and dislikes. I have gotten to know my children so much more than I ever have and I thank God for the opportunity to love and teach them. You will soon realize that you teach them much more than you know, just by listening and playing with them.

Many Blessings,

 Vicki B.

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FREE Random Acts of Fitness kit

Subway is giving away a free Random Acts of Fitness kit to school and Home School teachers. So go check it out!
Link here:
 http://www.subwaykids.com/grownups/classroom/RandomActsOfFitness.aspx?rdr=SFB:eblast:W7:2009
 
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The New Plan!

This ‘school year’ has been in the planning stages since the beginning of the calendar year. I tend to have a hard time narrowing down what will work for our family and budget. It is a difficult thing to decide on what your children will be learning and what you will use to guide your teachings. After all, you want to give the best to them and want them to succeed. And with all of this weighing on a mother’s heart, it can be a very daunting task. You pray for guidance and answers while hoping your decision is the correct one.

So long story short……We are going to continue to use Horizons for math for all. It went well last year and we will use it until it no longer serves it’s purpose. Kyra is in it’s last year this year and will be ready for Algebra next year. We are  starting to look at programs that will fit our needs for next year. Any suggestions? We’re all EARS!! LOL

The younger two boys are using Learning Language Arts Through Literature, the blue and red books, for their phonics. Kyra and Zach are using Painless Grammar. And we will be utilizing copywork for penmanship for all and grammar reinforcement for the older two.

For Bible studies,we were blessed by another homeschooling family to be able to use their curriculum, Family Bible Lessons.

I ‘stumbled’ upon a GREAT history program called TruthQuest. It is based on HIStory through the ages. It is a wonderful addition to our studies and we plan to use it throughout our homeschooling  journey. Michelle Miller, the writer, has a yahoo group that you can join to ask questions before and/or after purchase of her product. The ladies on there are extremely helpful in answering any questions you might have on scheduling, implementing, etc. Michelle is also a frequent commenter and is very willing to offer help with her first-hand knowledge. I would highly recommend thus curriculum for any type of homeschooler as it can be used with all styles.(Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit studies, Unschooling, etc.) 

For geography we are going through Ann Voskamp’s: A Child’s Geography, Explore His Earth V1. It is a highly awarded and well received geography course with a Christian emphasis.

And last but not least, we have our science program, Christian Kids Explore Biology. This course presents biology the way God made it. It is user friendly and is laid out by day for you. There is a supplemental booklist in the appendices to help with digging deeper when there is interest. This is a good program for elementary students to get their ‘feet wet’ with science.

Oops! Almost forgot our nature studies. At least one day a week we are going to observe this wonderful world God made for us and expand our thoughts to paper. Sometimes we will draw what we see and label it, be it plant and/or animal. Other times we will do leaf rubbings, dry flowers, planting, crafts, etc. Whatever floats our fancy for that day. There will be days that we just go into our own backyard or maybe the park. And sometimes we will make special trips to zoos, national parks, flower or butterfly gardens, etc.

With all of this we will of course be reading from our Bible daily, along with a ‘free’ read-aloud(we are starting with On The Back of the North Wind) and one for history(We are learning from early explorers to 1800 this year).

I pray that this list will be a blessing for someone out there in cyber-space that has been looking for that ‘perfect’ thing to use in their homeschool. As for our home, we know that wherever the good Lord leads us is where we need to be. And just maybe, He might lead one of you to some of the same things for your family.

Many Blessings,

Vicki B.

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The Drive-In!

On Saturday, Wyatt’s 6th Birthday, we went to a drive-in that I had just heard about. It was the kids first drive-in experience and Brian and I hadn’t gone to one since we were teenagers. The closest one is in Fayetteville, about a 20-30 minute drive. The movies that were playing were UP! and Hannah Montana. We brought our own concessions, sleeping bags, blankets and pillows for the back of the truck. The kids got comfortable in the back while Brian and I sat on chairs in front. We had a blast and it didn’t end until after midnight! Wyatt was the only one who ended up falling asleep, halfway through the second movie. LOL!

The Drive-In.

The Drive-In.

We're Watchin' The Show!

We're Watchin' The Show!

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The Kids’ Reads For Splish!

Wyatt’ list- BOB’s  books and other beginner readers.

Trey’s list- Cam Jansen series and The Bailey School Kids series, so far!

Zach’s list- his Daily Devotional book, Homer Price, Redwall, The Hardy Boys series and some of Gary Paulson’s books.

Kyra’s list- her Daily Devitional book, The House On Deer Track Trail, some of the Mandie Mysteries, The Sign Of The Beaver and Julie Of The Wolves.

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Skiafest 2009

Sunday, 6/6/09 the kids and I went to Skiafest. For those of you who haven’t heard of this event….you’re missing out!  The christian store, Skia, puts on a FREE annual music fest where several performers come and perform. This year was our first year attending the concert and it was a blast for the whole family.

We went to see Britt Nicole sing and some skaters/bikers perform their stunts. Britt Nicole was on first. And WOW! She is very talented. During her performance she stated that she felt led by the Lord to sing. She also led some devotions and prayers during her concert.  My 11yo daughter has her CD and we all know her music and listen to it.  After the concert she came out and spoke with her fans, signed autographs and took pictures. She was very down to earth and listened to my daughter. She autographed the CD and the Skiafest T-shirt. We had pictures taken with her, and her and the band.

The kids watching Britt Nicole on stage.

The kids watching Britt Nicole on stage.

Britt Nicole on stage!

Britt Nicole on stage!

Kyra with Britt Nicole and her awesome band!

Kyra with Britt Nicole and her awesome band!

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My Splish Booklist

The Old Schoolhouse is having their 2nd annual summer reading program. As most of you know, this was our first year homeschooling. So this will be our first year participating. We are excited to take part of this adventure. I am even getting in on the fun!

Now, to decide what books I want to work on for this summer………

I just finished “Don’t Make Me Count To Three”  by Ginger Plowman-a book that I will find myself reading again and again!

I need to finish Charlotte Mason’s Home Education (about half way through)

Wish List:

Keep The Siblings Lose The Rivalry by Dr. Todd Cartmell

Boundaries With Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Persuasions by Jane Austin

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Power Of A Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson

These are some wants and wishes and I invoke the right to substitute as needed. LOL

I encourage you and your family to join in the fun at  TOS Summer Readins Splash! Let me know if you are and what you’re reading lists are going to be!

I’ll be getting back to you on what the kids are wanting to read for the summer.

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It’s Official!!

My husband has just bought me the best present for my birthday! I just received 5 tickets to Florida. The kids and I are flying down to see my family for the month of July!

We can’t wait, my family can’t wait! We haven’t seen anyone, except for my mother, since we moved to NW AR a year and a half ago(it feels like forever!). We had never lived further than a 30 minute drive away until we moved here. All of us are family-sick!

We are planning on spending a lot of time at the beach, visiting our old stomping grounds(parks and springs) and visiting all of our family. Can we say “get together time”! I am hoping we will also be able to visit Sea World(can’t stop me from schoolin’).  And boy is my camera gonna be FULL!

Besides this awesome news…..Zach turns 10 May 21st! I can’t believe he’s into 2 digits now! He is growing up to be such a wonderful young man. He is so helpful to me, when I’m down on my back or not feeling good, he’ll be the first to ask to help. I am sooo proud of him!

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Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

“Why do you say this”, you ask? I don’t know…..people always say it. I guess it’s mostly people that work during the week or kids that go to school during the week. But for me, a homeschooling mom, my job doesn’t end on Friday,  or any other day for that matter! Life doesn’t have a day off, whether it’s a holiday or not. I still have to be a mom and wife and teach my kids.

When I worked fulltime I was under the assumption that when I had days off, I deserved them. Finally, I allowed God to open my eyes and I realized that I had an even more important job….my kids! They were trusted to me by God and He calls for the parents to be the educators of their children, especially spiritually. We are not to depend on others to teach our children what our beliefs are. Sunday school is great for the kids to interact with other christians but it should not be a substitute for family devotions and daily reading of the Bible. With that said, I am not perfect and there are times that I let things get in the way of our “God time”. When we are schooling it is a part of our routine. But on days where we don’t “officially” school it tends to be left out. I am not proud of that fact and I strive to get better at it.

I pray that those reading this might be encouraged to take heed our Father’s words and also strive to have their own “God time” with their family. And for those who already do…..I pray that you continue to bless His name!

Don't forget the promises!

Don't forget the promises!

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