Thursday, January 15, 2015

Grand Ideas

Well, even though it is January of 2015 and I am barely now writing about our school year, it has been going pretty smoothly.

I have just had a lot on my plate and have to daily make those priority choices.

But I did want to share some of the stuff we are trying this year.  I feel good that I am figuring some things out with the girls and what is available to us. This year my focus for my sophomore is college prep and life skills.  Reality is sinking in that I only have 2 more years with her and there is a lot that I want her prepared for.

So for my Sophomore:

Algebra through Saxon - she is a little behind but I am more concerned with the fact that she understands what she is learning vs completing the levels. We pretty much will do math year round.

English - She is writing reports on just about everything.  Plus I have her going through a couple of different essay and poetry books.

Chemistry 101 is awesome

Spanish through Rosetta Stone

and the two that I am thrilled about:

American History through Hillsdale College - these are free classes that can be taken online.  Since they are free you can't get college credit for them but they will send you a certificate of completion which can go in her portfolio. I also like that she is getting some experience with a college level lecture and quizzes.  Here is the link

Bible College through AISOM (AMES International School Of Ministry) - these are free Bible classes (although you can pay for them and get credits for them).  It is a neat self-paced program and although my focus right now is that she is learning - we have the option in the future to pay for them and then she can go on to AMES Christian University and get her Bachelors in one of the areas of ministry that they offer.  I am also currently enrolled. Here is the link

So that is majority of what my oldest is working on.  I throw in different reports and activities for her in addition to daily reading and devotions.

Next time I will talk about my 3rd grader!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Is it over yet?

Wow, it is the end of April, are we there yet?  Almost, but not quite.  Did I accomplish the things that I wanted to accomplish this year? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!

But I think it was a good year overall.  The girls are completing the core curriculum and I am already gathering the supplies for next year (we are trying to do minimal to no-cost homeschooling) and I feel we have a good plan.

I know that the girls learned a lot more about life even if the keyboard never got turned on or that Spanish and sign-language were rarely practiced. But that is life these days. We are growing as a family and the really important things are being accomplished - I can't complain.  We have had very special days together and we have had special days apart :).  We are finding our weaknesses and strengths, we are acknowledging when we are struggling and giving in to those days when it is necessary to say - NO SCHOOL TODAY, we are worn out.  We are also buckling down on other days to get 'er done. We will be taking at least 4 weeks off over the summer and then trying some new things next year.  I'll keep ya posted (hopefully)!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Life Skils

It is really on my heart that an important part of our homeschooling is to teach them life skills.  I know so many kids leaving high school who are clueless about things like budgets, grocery shopping, banking, and in general taking care of themselves.

In a way we have already been doing this kind of teaching in my home.  They go with me to the grocery store.  They are understanding about the importance of keeping track of what we are spending. Coupons are sometimes a big deal, as well as saying "No" to unnecessary purchases.  The girls take turns in the kitchen already - Little Sis helps me a lot and Big Sis actually cooks dinner at least once a week - in addition to doing most of the baking. I also encourage my kids to pay for things themselves at stores - how to count back money and pay attention to receipts etc.

I am going to start teaching them more about the other areas like how to write checks, make a budget, follow a budget. How to clean and take care of things, fix things etc. All things that I feel people need to know.

Another important part of our homeschooling is teaching the girls to be healthy.  I have been slacking in this area but then again I haven't been as healthy either.  I really committed this year to being more health conscious.  I am deliberately buying more veggies and forgoing on the not as healthy snacks - we don't have a lot of junk food anyways but even crackers vs fruit or cereal vs real breakfast like eggs makes a difference.  We are also doing P.E. 3 days a week. An hour after breakfast we walk with a walking video (when warmer am weather hits we will actually walk outside).  Mondays we go 1 mile, Wednesdays - 2 miles, Fridays - 3 miles. Big Sis and I will work with weights also.

I think that exercise and eating right are important life skills that I want my kids to start on now so that when they do leave home they can carry on with them.

Proverbs 22:6

New King James Version (NKJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
This isn't just spiritually - this is important in all aspects of life. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Now is the time...

As you recall back in July I was pretty excited about the plan - well, I still am, sort of...

I think it is going really well this year and the girls seem to be on track.  But there is still something missing.  I am not totally sure what, well maybe I do.  I think what is missing is Joy, yep that's it.  We are definitely missing the Joy of learning.

Things have come up since my last post and now we are adapting to something new again.  We have set schedules and for the most part have stuck to them but I have to say that being flexible is the best plan of all.

We have decided to take the month of December off - completely.  We are so busy in getting ready for Christmas and I have added duties with work for this month that it just makes sense.  We are in the kitchen constantly with baking and crafts.  We are watching wholesome Christmas movies and attending different holiday events. I feel pretty good about all this.  I also told the girls that if we work really hard the rest of this semester that we will also take the month of June off.

Now to figure out the Joy part.  I think that I am going to be shifting gears again.  I think I have chosen really good curriculum this year but I am really feeling like God wants me to not rely so much on the curriculum but on Him and my time.

We haven't been to the library yet this year, we haven't been on any field trips, we haven't even had a picnic yet. Those are all things that bring joy.  I think I am still in the mindset that school has to be about Math, English, Science and History vs learning, just learning!  I figure now is the time to maybe change things up a little and see how it goes.  I want piano, Spanish, sign-language, reading (lots of reading) and other "Electives" to play bigger parts in learning. Not sure yet how I am going to do this but that is what I want.

I am also pursuing  homeschooling for free (or more frugally) there is so much out there that is more cost effective it just requires a little more time and effort on my part. If we save money on these we will be able to  have more in other areas - like actually taking a vacation.

I'll let you know how things are going :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Plan

Yes! I now have a plan - wooohooo!

I have spent the greater part of this weekend coming up with a plan for this upcoming school year.  Last year being our first full year on our own taught me quite a bit.  I learned mostly, what doesn't work for me vs what works well.

What didn't work for me/us:
  • Trying to plan out more than a week at a time, inevitably this was a waste of time and ink.  Something always comes up in our lives that would cause us to have to derail from the schedule.
  • Using an online record keeping program that requires daily login and input of activities.  I am on the computer constantly for work and ministry and yet I found it extremely difficult to login and enter the daily activities.  I would end up spending a whole day inputting assignments for a month - not working!
  • Allowing electives to slip - this was one of my biggest failures I think this year.  I was so unorganized that when it came down to it, the extra stuff got pushed by the wayside.  I do believe that these are just as important as the core subjects. 
  • Not following a set daily schedule, even though everyday is different.  I didn't have set times for younger daughter and she was able to "disappear" when I got caught up in something else way to often.
So what are the changes:
  • I am only going to plan out one week at a time.  I have a start date but no ending date or days off planned.  I am praying about trying the Sabbath Schedule which consists of 6 weeks on and the 7th week off. But we will see how the school year starts.
  • I am switching from the online record keeping program to a simple spreadsheet that I downloaded from  it is awesome and so much easier for me.  I am able to put in the information that is required vs putting in everyday activities whether they are graded or not.  It has everything I need - Thank you FiveJs! I will keep track of the daily activities in my planner that I use for work/ministry.
  • I am going to be very strict about the electives this year.  To do this I will make it clear to the girls that school work is not done until EVERYTHING on the list is finished.
  • Even though everyday is different around here our weeks tend to be the same ie: Home on Mondays, work on Tuesdays, half day of work on Wednesdays, errands/meetings/appointments on Thursdays, home on Fridays.  So I can set up a daily schedule for each day and what works for that day - and stick to it.
I am so excited to have a plan now.  I have also figured out the curriculum for each girl which I will post about later.

I love it when a plan comes together - (sorry, my A-Team secret is now out)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Getting Ready To Start Again

We finished up most of the curriculum from this past year this week.  Oldest is going to continue to work on English and Math.  English should be finished by end of July, Math is another story.  2 years ago I switched her math mid-year because I could tell that she wasn't mastering the concepts. So she has been about a 1/2 year behind - to help make up for this she pretty much does Math year round.

Yesterday, as a family, we went to our area curriculum sale.  I was thrilled to find both of the girl's math books and a science and spelling for the younger.  These curriculum fairs are a great way to find curriculum for a lot less.  By making this trip to town we saved almost $200 in curriculum.

Hopefully, in the next few weeks I will be able to order the rest and than that will give me a couple weeks to get organized before we start mid August.  I am moving up the start date this year in hopes that next year we can have June and July off.  These 2 months have become very busy due to vacations and ministry work getting ready for a conference that is held at the end of July every year.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Healthy Minds & Bodies

As we continue on this journey of raising our children, I am realizing that there are some areas that I feel it is important for us to focus on in their education.  One such area is teaching them to be healthy.  I am realizing that I am not real healthy and I want to give the girls a good start in their life long pursuit to be healthy adults.

I have decided that I am going to devote a good portion of our "School" day to focus on devotions (healthy spirits) and exercise (healthy bodies). Academics are important yes, but I think that we will be more productive in the long run if we are learning to be a healthy family also.