Monday, September 9, 2013

Handicraft: Beaded Serving Spoons

I received one of these as a Christmas gift in a MOPS group years ago and I love using it. It reminds me of all the MOPS fun and it's just cute. I thought that little hands might be able to do this, so we set off for Hobby Lobby and found some beads and wire. Today (as a tester) we dressed up some serving spoons we already had, but the boys and I had such a good time doing this we are planning on doing this for Christmas gifts. We might even be making some jewelry for out girl friends and cousins ('s a surprise!).

Here's some pictures of our version. I looked this up on Pinterest and the blogosphere is full of this project, so I'll save myself the work and let them explain all the little details.

Beaded Serving Spoon How To

I gave a small strand of the wire with a bead "tied off" at the bottom and they joined in on the fun. I can use their beads for Christmas ornaments or key chains for additional gifts. 

Even the littlest hands like to move and sort. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Schedule, I mean routine...

This is my revision of a revision of our schedule, that is really more of a routine that will likely be tweaked again. It's a special challenge educating a 6 year old with 3 1/2 year old twin brothers and an almost 2 year old brother. This untried routine will go into effect next week, we'll see how close reality looks to this plan. Character above curriculum! Have a plan, but be willing to change on a moments notice (without the dramatics!). 

School Name

I came up with a school name this week. We have been memorizing Psalm 1 and this just seemed to fit our outdoorsy, earthy boys school. Giving our school a name has given us a little more focus and is a daily reminder that my main job should be growing boys into men with deep roots in the Lord. The rest of the curriculum choices and scheduling woes are secondary to raising Psalm 1:3 men. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our Curriculum 2013-2014

Choosing curriculum for our homeschooling is a never ending process. I always ask people about what curriculum they use and we swap stories about what has worked and what hasn't. It is important for every homeschooling parent to go on their own journey of research to discover what philosophy and curriculum will work for them and then be willing to adapt, drop and change if something isn't working.

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum is a great place to start this journey.

We are actually in week 4 of our 1st grade school year with A-man. The twin boys are 3 1/2 and in pre-school. In our house, that's lots of free play and books. No planning really here, just providing experiences. Baby L's (21 monhts) only assignment for the school year is to get potty trained. I decided we would start in the heat of the Texas summer and ease ourselves into a regular schedule (often interrupted by trips to the pool and last minute outings). We'll take more breaks throughout the year in October and April when weather in Texas is at it's best.

Over the past several months I have discovered a lady who I would give anything to sit down and have a chat with over a cup of coffee. Her name was Charlotte Mason. She was a late 19th century/early 20th century educator. Many homeschoolers have at least heard to her and many follow her general philosophy without evening realizing it. When I started reading about her and what she had to say about education I was instantly at home with her and had to know more. Not having any children of her own, she dedicated her life to the education of children and had so much insight into the mind of a child. One of her quotes is, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life." This homeschooling thing is not just school, it's how we do life. She has written many volumes and I will continue to study her writings while teaching and developing a true love for my children (and myself).

Some Charlotte Mason ideas that we use in our school day include living books (textbooks are secondary), narration (telling back what we read), memorization, copywork, nature journaling, handicrafts, artist and composer study. Also, we keep lessons to no more than 20 minutes. So, our schoolwork (including PE, breaks, music practice time) is from 8:30-11:30 am. We shift around here and there as life needs to be shifted with three younger kids and an entire world to explore!

There are two resources (more exist I'm sure) of Charlotte Mason curriculums for free. You just purchase the books or find them at your library and follow the guides and schedules. I may use one of these for next year.

Charlotte Mason Help
Ambleside On-line

But, I still need a little more hand-holding as I figure out our homeschooling life, so here are my picks for curriculum 2013-2014 (1st Grade Year):

Sonlight Core B for: 
Bible (Devotional, Missionary stories, and reading from the Bible)
Language Arts (we don't do the worksheets, just the 3rd grade read alouds)--He reads to me
Read Alouds (Chapter Books I read to him)
Poetry (we just read it and talk about it)

I love Sonlight's book choice. I also love how the teacher's guides are all thorough and ready for me to grab and go. Many people just look up the book lists on-line and create their own curriculum from there. I might be willing to give that a go next year after getting another year of homeschooling under my belt. So far, Sonlight has been a great set of training wheels to get me on the path of teaching through great literature.

Sonlight B for Science:
Again, it's literature based and the lesson plans are all there and done for you to choose 4 days a week or 5 days a week (we do 4 days a week).

We have used Horizons Math through Kindergarten and although we are continuing it into 1st grade, I am looking into using this free program available on-line. It's more teacher intensive, but I like how it presents math concepts.

Kindermusik for the Young Child Semester 3 and 4
Yeah! That Kindermusik licensing I went through before our first baby was born is coming in handy! Kindermusik is thorough and age appropriate.  I gathered up some friends of mine and last year we did Semester 1 and 2, learning all about composers, music, basic notation and playing the glockenspiel. This year we'll continue our note-reading while learning a simple dulcimer and the recorder. Again, Kindermusik has it all planned for me, although you can only order and teach the curriculum after you have special Kindermusik certification.

Artist/Composer Study
I discover more and more blogging homeschoolers who develop their own curriculum and make available free of for purchase. I found this one and purchases the Year 1 curriculum.

I just came across this recently and I'm intrigued. It is italic handwriting and then goes into italic cursive, which is sort of a blend of print and cursive. I thought that seem awfully complicated at first until the next day when I was writing and realized that I have developed my own print/cursive style. And, it's Charlotte Mason approved, so you can't go wrong! (famous last words!)

Bible Memory
The Sonlight curriculum does come with it's own bible memory CD. The arrangements and the version they use are not my favorite, so this year we are using a "Seeds" album to memorize scripture. The one we are using is "Seeds of Character". I type each scripture on note cards and laminate them and we work on bible memory for about 10 minutes each school day. I play the music at different point throughout the day. This is going well so far, so I imagine each year we'll pick a different album.

Also, I JUST found that through the Seeds Family Worship website, they have pdfs of the chord charts for all their songs. SWEET! We can get a little singing and piano playing into this as well!

I bought this based on the good Amazon reviews. So far, I'm not thrilled. We'll see. I liked that all the kids could watch it and hopefully learn together. Again, we'll see.

Just go to Hobby Lobby and let them pick out a handicraft type project that interests them!

I do believe that is it! Happy School year y'all!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mommy Pouch for under $1

This is a mommy pouch that I actually want to keep! Before kids I taught music and got this idea from a fellow teacher. It was a lifesaver when I was teaching. I would always need this and that during the day and didn’t want to interrupt teaching a lesson to grab a kleenex or a pen. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to doing this during my next teaching career with my own children as the students! It took a whole 6 minutes. This would be handy for any mom who is at home and running around keeping all the plates spinning. But, if you’ve ever taught children (especially your own children) you know how much it can take to get their attention in a lesson and how quickly that attention can run away if you turn your back for a second. When I’m homeschooling I often have had to run out to grab this or that, this is a great way to have it right there with me. Also, when I’m cooking I can stick a little towel in there to wipe my hands.
3 things you’ll need:

Lowe’s canvas apron for 98 cents
scrap fabric
iron-on stitch.

 Fold and iron the fabric to fit over the front. Attach the fabric to the apron with the iron-on stitch.

Stuff it with your “this and that”. I put in my phone to use for music and a timer, pencil and notebook to write down all those ideas I hardly have time for, gold stars because kids seem to do anything for a gold star, kleenex (of course) and band-aids because Grant falls a lot and he thinks he’s bleeding every time and a band-aid makes him feel better.
Mom’s ready now! Try to get distracted now, kids…

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Summer is great, but with Texas summer comes extreme heat and therefore more indoor time than we'd like. Our boys love games, so I pulled out my copy of "Home School Family Fitness" for some ideas of indoor and outdoor games. I just printed each one on a 3x5 card so when I am in that time of "they need something to do, what do we do?", I can pull out a card and we're on our way. I printed indoor games in black and outdoor in red.

Indoor games:
Hide and Seek
Balloon Volleyball
Dodge Ball
Blanket toss (Ball on blanket, toss in air)
Simon Says
Follow the Leader
Four Square (tape on the floor or chalk on the garage floor)
Musical Ball (like musical chairs, but toss the ball around until the music stops)
Obstacle Course (use cushions, chairs, whatever and time your little one through it over and over!)
Tug of War
Golf Ball Race (roll golf balls down the stairs)
Golf Ball Balance (balance golf ball on a tee and walk)

Outdoor Games:
Capture the Flag
Handball (on the driveway)
Baby Pool and water guns (we do this one almost every afternoon in the summer)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Our Classroom

A typical day in our homeschooling classroom. I love that our oldest is now starting to 
read to his younger brothers!