Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 4: Preparing for School to Begin!

Last week I told you a little bit about what Jocelyn will be doing for the first semester of this upcoming school year.  This week it is all about Katelyn!

Katelyn just turned 5 last week...and she is already counting down to turning 6!  I wish she would just focus on her current status of being 5!  Anyways, Katelyn is technically (according to our NE State entrance laws) in Kindergarten.  As I mentioned last week and several times before, I don't like grade levels.  But for organizational purposes we will say she is in Kindergarten.
Here is a little snippet of what I will be doing with Katelyn this semester:

She started McRuffy Math: 1st grade in January.  She was only able to complete 1/2 of the book, so she will be finishing up this semester.  I will have to look for something new for January in the 2nd grade level I guess?  Or maybe have her do the 3rd grade stuff with Jocelyn since I can sign up as many users on the Teaching Textbooks software.  Really not sure.  But she enjoyed doing McRuffy Math last year, so hopefully her enjoyment will still be the same!  There are so many little fun activities I can do with her outside of this book to help her with learning math!

Katelyn will be doing Hooked on Phonics Spelling Level 2.  We have level 1, but it is really, really basic and I forgot to have her do it last we will just be skipping it.  I think she will be fine.  The words in level 2 match up with her reading words nicely, so it should work. There is also a fun little computer program that goes along with these lessons!

If you read my little summary last week about what I am doing with Jocelyn, you kind of sense how I will be teaching my kids how to read a little better.  Katelyn started the Hooked on Phonics Reading Program last year I believe....maybe the year before...I can't remember.  Anyways, she has two more workbooks to go through and she will be finished.  There are a lot of reading programs out there.  My mom gave this set to us before the kids were even born.  I have really enjoyed using it and the girls have loved the little books that correspond with what the words they have learned for the day. 
If we have time we will move onto Skill Builders Reading: Grade 1
Health, Geography, & Bible:
Katelyn will be working with Jocelyn on the same things for these subjects.  You can view what we are doing:  HERE.

Kate will be doing pretty much the same electives as Jocelyn.  Not sure about her level of interest in playing the piano, but I will give her the option of trying to learn.  She will be the youngest in her homeschool PE class...but I am sure she will enjoy the class!  The girls both love helping me I plan on using a few of the recipes in this little kit!

Just a little side note....we are using lots of workbooks and resources....will the kids complete every single page and every single lesson?....NO!  In my opinion if they master something...really master something...then why do the same thing over and over and over again.  Some things are just not important (in my opinion) so we will just skip certain things.

I am going to wait 2 weeks before I post what my little tots will be doing.  Working on a fun little busy bag swap with a group of 7 other ladies.  You will also have a chance to WIN 2 busy bags!!!  So next week I will give you a grand tour of our new school area!! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just another summer day!

I have so many things that I wanted to check off on my summer bucket list and going to the beach with the kids was one of them. 

My kids LOVE the beach and I love it too!  The 3 older kids do so well in the water now and Weston loves playing right along with everyone.  My friend Nancy and the girls' friend Sarah joined us for a great morning on the lake.  It was hot outside, but we hardly noticed because there was a cool breeze and the water felt great!

Here are a few pics from our morning....didn't take too many pictures because I didn't want my phone to be out in the sand/water for very long!....and notice the color?  That was left over color from my color run from a few weeks ago!

After we spent the morning at the beach, we went home and took naps.  ALL 4 kids and me!  Yay!  Felt so good!  After naps we ate and jumped into the car and headed to the zoo!  It was 100 degrees when we got there....oh my goodness was it hot.  But luckily there are several shaded areas at the zoo.  I didn't take too many pictures, but the kids did get their faces painted....kind of cool little designs.  Easton picked a tiger, Jocelyn a dolphin, and Kate a butterfly.
 and we rode the train...a family favorite!

 Afterwards we went out for some frozen yogurt!! A great way to cool off a hot day!!

 Wish my hubby would have been home to join in on all of the excitement! 

Week 3: Preparing for School to Begin!

For the past 2 weeks I have been telling you about a few things that I am doing to prepare our family for the new school year.  The first two things were just crafty things that (in my opinion) make our school room look at little nicer.  A big part of preparing for the school year is deciding what I am going to teach the kiddos. 

This next year I will have Jocelyn who is will be in 2nd grade.  Katelyn will be in kindergarten-1st grade-ish.  Easton will be in preschool.  Weston is still just along for the ride.  I don't really like the grade thing, but for organizational purposes...we have titles. 
I have been trying to decide what to teach the kids since mid-April.  I attended a homeschool conference this past Spring and had a chance to look through some great curriculum exhibits.  I have read online reviews about certain publishers and books.  I have asked fellow homeschooling mama's.  I talked things over with my husband.  I prayed about it.  When it comes down to it, the ultimate decision is up to me:)  Yay! 

A funny little side story....I was at a party a few months ago with people I didn't know.  We were the outsiders by a long shot.  I was getting food together for the kids...slowly...and was listening in on a conversation between two moms talking about a homeschooling family that they know.  So my ears perked up.  They were going on and on about how there is no way that this homeschooling mom could get everything covered that needs to be covered and teach multiple kids at the same time.  It just wasn't possible.  I wanted to chime in...but instead just chuckled to myself.  Who on earth decides what a kid should be taught in xyz grade?  Hmmmm?  What if a child isn't ready to read...say until they are 10?  What if they are really good at Math at the age of 5 and doing books that are have 2nd grade printed on the cover?  What is exact age that a child should learn the presidents or states?  Will I go to school jail if I don't cover certain topics??  I digress.

So this week I will share with you the curriculum that I will be working on with Jocelyn for the 1st semester of school.  Some of it is kind of the "boring" both of our eyes...but the basic fundamentals of what Sean and I feel that we should work on with our kiddos.  Next week I will share what I am doing with Katelyn...and then the following week my teeny tots!

I love teaching Math.  Jocelyn for some reason doesn't share this love for Math that I have.  Bummer!  I try to make it fun...and still plan on doing that this next year as much as I can.  I am switching gears altogether and trying something new! She will be on the computer for her entire Math year.  If it doesn't work...I have the student textbook handy:)  There is also a nice little parent grade book where I can log-in and see what she got wrong....did she look at the solution....did she correct her wrong answers etc.  Each lesson has a little teacher teaching the new concept and practice problems.  Sometimes games are mixed in with the assignments.  It looks like fun!  This little program is called Teaching Textbooks Math 3.  The lowest Math grade level they have is for 3rd graders.  They have a pre-test that kids can take online that suggests a grade level.  Jocelyn tested into the 3rd grade yay...we bought it! 
Jocelyn likes to read books that interest her.  Mostly about Disney Princesses and Barbie dolls.  So that is what we are going to do ALL.YEAR.LONG.  Ok...I think I would throw up if we actually did that.  Really to practice reading and improving on her reading skills..I truly believe that she just needs to read.  So my plan is to read lots of story books...of multiple topics.  I also bought a little extra book called Skill Builders Reading: Second Grade.  It is from Rainbow Bridge Publishing.  It features little stories and the questions her at the end on reading comprehension.  She breezed through the first grade level and seemed to enjoy their stories.  So I hope she will enjoy this book as well.
This year we will be using a new-to-me publisher for spelling:  Spelling 2 by Bob Jones University Press.  Each week she will have a list of 20 words to memorize and will have some fun little activities to complete to help her learn these words.  I am hoping to make spelling fun for her this year.  In my opinion, it is all about memorization...the English language can be tricky sometimes!
Kind of boring stuff in my eyes...but shhh....don't tell Jocelyn this.  I think I try to act enthusiastic when I teach Language and grammar.  It is pretty important stuff if we want her to write little stories and such.  If you actually read my blog word for know I am horrible in this area!  I am using Language Fundamentals 2 by Evan-Moor Publishing group.  I have used Evan Moor a few times in the past and really like how they set up their workbooks.  She actually did like the little activities in the grade 1 just wasn't her favorite subject.  This grade level has a HUGE section on editing sentences.  So I really liked that, because she can apply what she has learned in the past few years.
I have been going back and forth on what to teach in regards to if I should teach the kids Science or Health for this next semester. I dislike Science, so we are going with Health.  :)  We will do Science in January.  I scoured the booths at the Homeschooling convention and settled on Horizons Health Grade 2 by Alpha and Omega Publishers.  I really like the layout and graphics of this curriculum.  It seemed kid friendly and to the point.  I also bought a cool puzzle from the Melissa and Doug company and have some fun little activities already planned out to go along with our health curriculum.  Kind of excited to get started on this new subject!
We are going to jump on a plane and explore the world!  Really!  Ok....Jocelyn would really like to go on a trip around the world, so hopefully by just talking about different places around the world, she can fill her little cup.  I got this little workbook for $1.00 at Target.  Yes you read that correctly!  We used the States workbook by the same publishers and I stocked up for the boys for the future and for all of the kids!!  The guy at the check out probably thought I was a crazy mama!
I have finally ordered what we will be doing for Bible this year.  I am really excited about it.  I didn't really see anything that jumped out at me at the convention.  My friend Erin has been raving about What's in the Bible DVD's from the producers of Veggie Tales.  (if you click the previous link you can save 20% using my discount code-- woohoo!!)  Anyways, each DVD contains 2- 25 minute episodes.  I am planning on having my kids watch 1 episode each week or every 2 weeks depending on the topic.  You can look around on their website for more information on their DVD's.  I will then create little lessons surrounding the topic covered.  I am really, really excited about using this.  Right now there are 8 DVD's out.  They are slowly releasing DVD's and #9 will be out in a few weeks.  Their goal is to be through the entire Bible by the year 2014.  A long way out...but repetition is good!  I previewed DVD 1 by downloading on my laptop. A few things here and there that I didn't agree with...such as the attire of one of the I will be sitting down with kids while they watch each episode.
We will be doing electives here and there.  I started to teach the girls how to play the piano a few months ago.  Jocelyn is catching on fairly well.  I hope to continue with her throughout the school year.  It is a bit tricky because I don't want to do it during naptime because of the noise level...and then with the boys I have major distractions with little fingers trying to push we will fit it in some how. 

I also plan to continue to teach them how to sew.  They both love to sew and we have a few projects on our list of things we would like to make.
 Cooking!  My girls love to cook, so my goal is to have them help a lot more in the kitchen.

P.E.  I am going to make my kids wake-up with me at 5:45 AM and run 3 miles around the neighborhood ...rain...shine...or snow.  It is good for them!  Only joking.  My plan is to sign them up for a twice weekly homeschool PE class at the Y.  Just need to figure out a few things first since we will be traveling quiet a bit...but that is my plan as of right this minute.

 Fun.  Really that is my main goal.  I love teaching my little ones.  LOVE.IT!  

Monday, July 23, 2012

A rush to celebrate.....

Katelyn turned 5 yesterday and her birthday landed on what ended up being an extremely busy weekend.  Our weekends aren't usually as busy, but we had 4 birthday parties to attend (including Kate's).  Of all birthday's hers was rushed. 

We spent 45 mins at a gross Chinese Buffet.  Opened presents quickly...sang happy birthday...cut  the cake for the kids and then Sean and I rushed out the door to another party for a friend.  Then on Sunday (her real birthday) my mom and dad hosted my grandma's (dad's mom) 80th birthday party. 

Katelyn had an aweful day.  She was in tears when she went to bed.  I think she thought my grandma's birthday was a party for herself.  Even though I told her it wasn't going to be...I really think she truly thought a surprise was going to happen.  She kept mentioning little things here and there that I totally disregarded.  She wanted to call different people to let them know it was her birthday...but I wouldn't let her because we were so busy and by the time we got home last night...I was sooooo tired.

Sean reminded me (and warned me in advance) that this is what happens when you spend an entire day focusing on other things and not your own child.  I felt so bad...I was in tears too.  We hardly spent time celebrated our little girls birthday. Now I get why Sean stresses we need to not fill our schedules up with the craziness of activities.  Everything just ended up falling on the same weekend.  I totally get it.

Anyways, here are a few pictures of the rushed birthday party for Katelyn.
Kate (and Joc) excited about the Barbie living room set Aunt Angie sent them!
Katelyn got a fishing pole set from parents.
The Rapunzel cake that I barely made it....    

Katelyn posing with her AG doll and her cake.
She was pretty excited that we sang to her...her little friend Nicole came over to spend the night.
This was the girls' original birthday present...I got a steal of a deal on Craigslist earlier this year...had to get it out of hiding in our we surprised them this morning.  They were pretty excited.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My sweet baby girl turns 5!

My little Katelyn Rose turns 5 today! 

 I have heard about this birthday for approximately 364 days in a row.  Birthdays are a big deal for her I guess! 

If you know Katelyn she is full of spunk and excitement.  She is always performing, singing, and dancing shows for us.  She has moves like...well if you see her dancing in can make your own judgements.   They are interesting...and she did NOT learn them from me.

She is my little baby girl.  Love her to pieces! 

Happy Birthday my little princess Rosalinda!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week 2: Preparing for school to begin!

I am starting school in 1 month and 2 days with the kids (well actually sooner...but that is another story).  Don't worry we will still be enjoying our summer, but I have some Bible related things that we are going to work on during the first few weeks of August.  Let's just call it behavior preparation training camp:) 

Last week I told you that I would feature something each week that is helping me prepare for the first day back at school.  You can visit my last's week post: HERE.  I made some fun and easy canisters to hold school supplies.

This week I am telling you about this little project:
I am working on fixing up our new school area and had these three canvases that I didn't want to go to waste.  I hated to see the Uppercase Living go....I loved this expression...but it didn't quiet go anywhere else in our house.
The first step was to mod podge some scrapbook paper onto the canvas.  I wanted to create a wavy look...ok...I had no paper just did that.  Should have taken my time to make it more straight.  But it is ok.
After the paper dried, I put one my favorite Bible verses on it:  Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I used removable (not permanent) vinyl letters purchased from Hobby Lobby.  I used 1 inch and 2 inch letters to emphasize certain words. 
I then mod podged over the words to give them an extra stick.

After this I painted over the canvas and added a little extra details with stencils.  This was a work in progress.  I kept going back and added more color.  I should have chosen a lighter paint color for the base, because when I pulled of the letters, you could barely read what the Bible verse had to say.  To fix this, I used a white paint pen and filled in the words.  Not the effect I was going for, but you can now read the verse.  My goal was to have the scrapbook paper's color show through, but that didn't work in my favor.  Just too busy I guess.

I then painted a thin layer of clear gloss over the canvas to give it an extra shine...and whoola!!

I got my inspiration from Pinterest of course...HERE!