Thursday, July 26, 2012

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!  


  1. Hey Julie, I love reading your blog!! You are very inspiring!I am figuring out my curriculum as well and really liked seeing what you are using.

  2. Looks fun, have a great year!

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