Saturday, August 22, 2015

2015 CURRICULUM Post

Now, here I'll record my neat and tidy plans for curriculum this year.  This evolves during the year as I add things and scrap others, but this is my current plan.

Aiden 7th, Alex 6th, Riley 4th, Remy 2nd, Oliver Pre-PreK :0).

*We do these things all together during Circle Time.  We don't do all of the memory work or songs everyday.  We mix things up during the week.

SINGING and MEMORY WORK--Bits of CC Memory Work and Timeline Song
Memory work from First Language Lessons CD
Scripture Memory Songs from Randall Goodgame, The Harrow Family, Jamie Soles, Steve Green, and Nathan Clark George
BIBLE--Popcorn Bible Reading from the ESV
PRAYER--Prayer Box and Answered Prayers book
BIBLE HISTORY--The Old Testament Made Simple
The New Testament Made Simple
The Picture Smart Bible--If we get the OT and NT Made Simple done we might use this).
WORK--Usually it's some kind of manual labor like cleaning baseboards for 15 minutes.
READ ALOUD--I'm using Ambleside Online some to help me choose books from our collection to focus on this year.

*We work these in weekly or monthly.

SCIENCE--Supercharged Science--I'm still figuring out how to schedule this the best way, but we have tons of terrific experiments to do, lots of videos online to watch, and lots of great info to read on the website.
ART--Aiden Alex, and Riley are taking a drawing class and we also do art projects at home some and review flashcards from our Fine Arts year a while back.
MUSIC--Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy are taking piano and we listen to tons of good music all the time, and have hymn sings at church.
COOKING--It is a major priority of mine that my boys know how to cook by the time they leave my house and that I cook ahead as much as possible.  So, it only makes sense that I would cook with the boys to get ahead!  We will try to do this once a week in addition to my helper for the day helping me with cooking prep.  We have also enjoyed watching these cooking classes.
SERVICE--Raymond and Dorothy Moore describe education as a three legged stool.  The three legs are book learning, work, and service.  I love that model and here we look for ways to be hospitable or serve others in the church and/or community.
GEOGRAPHY--I'm going to spend one month making sure that my kids have a comfortable knowledge of the continents and oceans and some major landmarks.  I'll be using The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide and Geography Flashcards that you can buy here.
FIELD TRIPS--We will shoot for one field trip per month.  It's so nice to get out together and enjoy God's creation!

*Everyone does these on their own.  

MATH--We are using Math U See.  We switched from Saxon at the end of last year and so far I've been really glad that we did.  The kids are enjoying math a LOT more.  It has been a bit complicated switching over.  I tested each boy to see what level he should begin at.  Then I backed up one level from their recommendation and then had them zip through and do one page of the lesson work per day instead taking a week and doing multiple pages.  This way they could learn how he teaches (via DVD) and how he explains things and get used to the change at a level that they were comfortable at.  It would also be great review.  Now I am just watching their scores on math and if they start missing 1 or 2 then at that point I will slow down and help them get the info.  If they are getting everything right the first try then I am still letting them move more quickly.  I help them as needed, but the video of Steve Demme gets them started off right each week.  I have been supplementing with Challenge Math, but I'm comparing that with Mathematical Reasoning and Beast Academy (at the recommendation of a Math Counts leader) to see if those might work better for us.  Also, we are doing flashcards to make sure that their math facts are as normal as breathing :0).

COPYWORK--I write a new quote on the white board each morning.  So far they have all been quotes about the Bible by famous people.  It's been really fun finding these.  Now I am moving into quotes about personal piety.

NARRATION--Each of them narrates to me by themselves in the laundry room after our read aloud time.

OUTSIDE FOR 15 MINUTES--This has been a great addition to our flippers!  They can combine this with another subject by doing their work outside or they can just go play and have some recess. It's wonderful to get some fresh air!  Even if it is raining they can just go out on our front porch. And, of course, they can stay out longer than 15 minutes.

PIANO--Our 4 big boys are taking piano so they each have to practice every day.  We have a piano upstairs and a keyboard with headphones downstairs so that helps.

READERS--I used Ambleside Online to choose some of the books we already have as readers for the boys at their appropriate reading levels.  I require them to read 30 minutes of their assigned book.  After that they are free to read other stuff.  I just told them this week that I might be changing the required reading to an hour.  After all, I am picking awesome books for them to get into and they usually end up loving them!  Some of the books are Michael Clay Thompson's Literature Trilogies.  These are terrific!  If have never heard of them...check them out!

*Aiden, Alex, and Riley are doing these things:

MICHAEL CLAY THOMPSON LANGUAGE ARTS--I finally took the plunge (after looking at it for about 5 years!) and bought this curriculum this year and I am so pleased!  It begins in 3rd grade and covers Grammar, Writing, Vocabulary, Practice and Poetics.  I just started Aiden, Alex, and Riley all on the first books and I am zipping through them with Aiden and Alex and taking it slower with Riley.  I can't say enough about how accessible he makes grammar and vocabulary.  He really boils it down and makes it so simple and thoroughly enjoyable!  The vocabulary in this program is very advanced and the end goal is to be able to write an MLA style paper so the kids will be ready for college.  This curriculum is a bit hard to explain, but do some research if you are interested.  There is quite a buzz about it around the web!

GREEK--Aiden, Alex, and Riley are all using Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek.  Jeremy did just find a curriculum that teaches Koine Greek by having them listen to it spoken.  He has heard some rave reviews about it and so we might be switching over to that soon.

*Aiden and Alex are doing these things:

FRIDAY ESSAYS--  This year I am having Aiden and Alex do an essay for me (due each Friday) about current events.  We get World Magazine and then we have a few sites that they can go to for research online.  This is nothing fancy, but we are working up to more sophisticated writing.

*Remy is doing these things:

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
I read picture books to him.
He is still doing Prescripts Handwriting and Explode the Code

*Oliver is doing these things:

I read picture books to him.
One fun activity every day.
Outside for 15 minutes every day.

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To recap a different way, I will list the flippers we use.  These are small laminated cards that the kids and I flip over when we have completed the subject listed on the card.  I absolutely love this system!  The subjects listed here are fleshed out above.

Our Family Flippers:

Daily
Sing
Memory Work
Pray
Bible Reading
Bible History
Read Aloud

Once or Twice a Week
Cooking
Art
Geography
Music
Science
Service

Aiden's Flippers--7th Grade:
Before 9:00
Math
Challenge Math
Copywork
Grammar Island (Michael Clay Thompson)
Narration
Greek
Reader
Piano
Outside 15 Minutes

Alex's Flippers--6th Grade:
Before 9:00
Math
Challenge Math
Spelling (I just take misspelled words from his essay and other work, have him study and copy them and then test him on them each Friday)
Copywork
Grammar Island (Michael Clay Thompson)
Narration
Greek
Reader
Piano
Outside 15 Minutes

Riley's Flippers--4th Grade:
Before 9:00
Math
Challenge Math
Copywork
Grammar Island (Michael Clay Thompson)
Narration
Greek
Reader
Piano
Outside 15 Minutes

Remy's Flippers--2nd Grade:
Before 9:00
Reading Book (Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading)
Math
Challenge Math
Copywork
Read to Me (I read him at least one picture book.)
Narration
Handwriting/Explode the Code
Reader
Piano
Outside 15 Minutes

Oliver's Flippers--Age3:
Outside 15 minutes
Read to Me
Activity

There you have it!

Friday, August 21, 2015

School SCHEDULE Post 2015

So...this is how we are scheduling things this year!  I'm pretty pumped because we are finally getting in a groove with some things that make our day go much more smoothly!

Right now my kids are ages 12, 11, 9, 7, 3, and 10 months.

The kids get up at 7:00 and they do their "Before 9:00."  This is the list:

Read your Bible.
Make your bed.
Clean your body.
Get dressed.
Pray.
Reset your flippers.
Do morning chore.

*Current chores are: Aiden puts all the clean dishes away. Alex carries all dirty laundry downstairs and sorts it. Riley matches socks, puts them in people's bins, and carries all the clean dishtowels up to the kitchen. Remy takes out all the trash in the house (except for the two big kitchen trash cans).

At 8:00 we all stop working for a bit and come together to eat breakfast.  After we are done everyone takes their own dishes to the sink and rinses them off.  They put their cup (with a colored drink band on it) in the drainer by the sink to use throughout the day and their other dishes go in the left side of the sink (ready to go into the dishwasher).

At 8:30 Aiden and Riley finish cleaning up the kitchen (until the table is wiped off, counters are wiped off, things are loaded into the dishwasher or hand washed and the sink is empty).  Aiden, Alex, Riley and Remy finish up anything left on their Before 9:00 and often get a few things crossed off of their school list.

Also at 8:30 I am spending time with Oliver and Olivia.  We usually go to their room and play with plastic food or go out on the front porch and say the color of the cars that go by.  Oliver loves having this time!

At 9:00 we all come together in our school room.  I have a small pack n' play right by my desk and Olivia plays in there.  Oliver has a seat at the half circle table that we use.

First, we sing lots of songs.  We do a mixture of genres.  We use preschool songs and Sunday School songs.  Oliver loves that everyone sings his songs in a funny way with him and I love that it keeps the big kids from taking themselves too seriously.  They get into it!  We use Classical Conversations History Sentences.  We use a variety of Scripture memory songs.  We also chant grammar lists at this time (like a list of the prepositions).  Lastly, we do poetry set to music.  We were doing Hymns using this terrific book, but needed to cut some things out so now we do that at night during Bible time.

Second, we read the Bible popcorn style.  This has been terrific.  Oliver listens some, but I also get out play dough or some other little thing for him to play with or sort during this time.

About this time (9:45 or so) Olivia is tired of the pack and play and tired of sitting on my lap.  It's nap time!  I tell the boys to finish up and then sit quietly and wait for me to get back.  I go and rock Olivia for just a couple of minutes and then put her down in her bed.  The key here is to wait until she is quite tired so that she starts sucking her thumb and goes out quickly.

Third, we have a short prayer time.  We made a prayer box with 3x5 cards in it.  Each card has a prayer request or praise.  I hand 1 car to each person and we pray for these things.  Even Oliver does it.  I just tell him what to say.  Then we put those cards at the back and write down any new requests.  We also have a book of answered prayers.  We just jot answered prayers in there as a reminder to us of how the Lord has heard our prayers!

At this point (around 10:10) I take Oliver to my bedroom and put him on my bed with lots of picture books.  This is his time to play by himself for about 20 minutes.  This is a skill that he needs and it really helps me to be able to give my undivided attention to the lesson I'm about to share.  When I get back to my big boys I often tell them to stretch their arms and do Simon Says type movements with their arms while they are sitting in their seats.  It's funny and we get some wiggles out.

Fourth, we study the Bible.  This year we are learning Bible history for our history.  After all, the Bible IS history!  I am using an amazing resource called The Old Testament Made Simple by Melton Short.  We read through the simple material and work together to commit the outlines of the OT to memory.  It is very user friendly and the kids are really enjoying it.

Now it is about 10:30 (all times are very much estimates!).  We head downstairs and I give each boy a coffee filter with animal crackers or graham crackers and some bottled water.  These snacks are always handy and ready to go.  Two boys share a bottle of water so it's not much of an expense.  They sit and eat their snack in a circle while I read something about history or science (like this).  Then they can play quietly with K'Nex (or some other building toy) or cuddle up with blankets while I read from a fun fiction read aloud book.  So there are two phases to this read aloud time: the first focused for content and the second laid back for some fun reading.  After we finish I take one kid at a time into the laundry room and they narrate one or both of the books I just read.  Sometimes I sort/fold laundry during this time, but often I try to look them straight in the eye and give them my undivided attention.  That is very helpful when trying to make sure they feel loved on (see How To Really Love Your Child).

At about 11:30 Olivia is usually waking up so I go and nurse her.  Then I get to fixing lunch.  While I am doing that Olivia is in the highchair snacking, Oliver is running around being cute, and the 4 big boys are working on any other bits of school that they can cross off on their own.

12:00 lunch time.  Then Alex and Remy clean up the kitchen.  This routine has been harder to get to stick because people are often going different ways working on school stuff around lunch time.  There is not as clear of a beginning and ending so sometimes I have to call people back to clean up their mess.  When they are done they get back to school and I am usually able to help a kid or two with some of the subjects that they need me to sit down and do with them.

1:00 (or 1:30) Rest time.  I put Oliver in his toddler bed, and Olivia in her crib right next to each other.  They each have a couple of pieces of play food and they just chat and then go off to sleep.  When this started working for me it was SO helpful!  My 4 big boys are on their beds during this hour.  They can "Read, Sleep, Think, or Pray."  They all have to read a certain amount for school so many of them do that during this time.  I really try to have this time by myself.  It makes me a much better mom in the afternoon if I can have some downtime.  I also try not to be on the computer or phone.  Ideally I am doing one of the options that the boys have "Read, Sleep, Think, or Pray."

2:00 I get my big 4 up and take turns helping them with whatever they need while Oliver and Olivia are still sleeping.

3:00 It would be nice if we were done by now, but we usually aren't :0).  We have only been at this for a few weeks though so hopefully we will get better.  But I would much rather get done at 4:30 and have some rest and fun built into the day than to get done at 3:00 and miss out on those aspects.

A few random notes.

I keep meaning to get a bit more organized about the big kids playing individually with Oliver or Olivia at certain times.  However, I think the more relaxed way we have been doing it is working fine.  If I need help with one of them I just ask one child to go and play with one of them.  Even though my kids are on a general schedule you just can't predict when a 10 month old or a 3 year old are going to need a bit more attention!

Sometimes I will ask an older child to help a younger one with his math.

I have a little wheel with the first 5 kids names on it.  Every day I rotate it so that a new child's name is lined up with "TODAY!".  That day that child is the one that I ask to help me cook, or I focus on a little bit extra.  That child gets to do his school stuff with me first.  That child is the one I make sure to focus on in other areas besides just school.

After school they are pretty free unless I need them to do a random chore and then I just ask.

We eat at 6:00 (if it's ready by 6:00 Ha!).  After dinner all the boys clean up together.  Sometimes Jeremy and I pitch in and other times we are getting Oliver and Olivia ready for bed.  Then the boys get ready for bed and we gather downstairs for Bible Time.  Right now we alternate between Seeds Family Worship DVD's with hand motions, Then Sings My Soul (read 1 page about background of hymn and then we sing it), and Sunday School type songs.  We are reading out of The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos.  Sometimes we will recap for Daddy the things that we learned from The Old Testament Made Simple.  We also chase many rabbit trails if they come up and answer lots of questions.  Then we have prayer time and the boys head off to bed.  If Oliver or Olivia get too tired before we are done then I just take them up and get them settled in.

Well, that is the outline of our day.  It has been so encouraging to me to have a general flow that I can count on.  Of course, no two days are ever the same, but we can usually figure out what comes next since we have been creating a pattern.

Next I will post lots of links to the actual curriculum that I am using this year.  I just love all this school stuff!






Saturday, July 11, 2015

Checking In

Hello!

I was just referring back to this blog to find info about what I had used for school in the past and I thought it might be time for an update.

The biggest change since my last post is that we have a daughter!  She is so much fun!  It is funny how early you can see her little girl personality come out.



My boys have gotten so much bigger too.  It is a real joy to have older kids!  The conversations are really interesting and they are a huge blessing to me in so many ways.  Parenting does get more complicated as they need help thinking through deeper issues.  I'm very thankful for the Lord's guidance as we seek to give these kids wise counsel!






I am having lots of fun nailing down what we will use for school this year.  I hope to get a post up soon listing my plan.  That way I can look back here in the future and see it all laid out so nicely :0).  I always mean to do a post later in the year telling what really happened, but I guess I get too busy living life and chasing kids and I forget to actually write the post!





Monday, March 10, 2014

Wisdom and Peace

James 3:16-18

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

This jumped right off the page at me this morning. I got to "disorder and every vile practice" and thought, "What did that verse just say leads to disorder and vile practices?" When I saw selfish ambition was part of the cause it made sense. I can get selfish in my ambitions during the day with my children and that often leads to disorder!

But the last two verses gave me something to shoot for. I want that wisdom from above. The kind that is...

pure
peaceable
gentle
open to reason
full of mercy and good fruits
impartial
sincere

And James 1:5 says that if I lack wisdom and ask God to give it to me, He will do it!

Let's make peace by sowing a harvest of righteousness in peace.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rebuttal

A few friends sent me a link to Enjoying God's (Sometimes Gluten-Free) Bounty.  This article brings some needed balance to the posts by Toby Sumpter here and here.  Thanks for sending me the rebuttal ladies!  There are some helpful thoughts here!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bible Time

Someone recently asked me what we do for our evening Bible time and I typed up a reply. I thought there might be other people looking for some ideas so I tidied my e-mail up a bit and here it is. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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We have tried lots of things for Bible time through the years and we are always changing and moving things around. But, I'll be happy to share some of the things we have done. First of all, we always try to keep the our children engaged and having a good time. We don't look at it primarily as a training time. There is a bit of training that goes on (sit in your seat, don't bother your brother, you need to be singing, etc), but most of the actual training for these things should happen at other times. Bible time should never be the hardest part of their day if you know what I mean! The basic format that we have used for quite some time is this:

Singing (1-4 songs usually depending on how much time we have)
Reading the Bible
Praying
More singing (usually one more song).

I'll take each element and expound a bit.

Singing We have used:

*Chanted Psalms. My husband spent some time learning how to do this and it has really helped the boys memorize the passages easily

*Fun Sunday School type songs. Zacchaeus, Jesus Loves Me, Only a Boy Named David, Father Abraham

*Hymns. We sometimes work on ones that we sing often in church and other times use some that are simply easy for the kids to pick up and have meaty lyrics.

*Psalms (mostly word for word from the ESV) set to fun lively music. We LOVE Jamie Soles and Sons of Korah for this.

*Children's Scripture memory songs The Harrow Family and Steve Green are great options.

*General Christian kids songs. Again Jamie Soles is amazing. He is our favorite. Judy Rogers is also great.

*Contemporary Christian music. We are pretty selective about the feel of the music, but we like some of Matt Maher and Keith Green among others.

We basically mix it up, take requests, and try to create an atmosphere where they are actively participating and not embarrassed to worship God with their voices. Sometimes we will get up and dance with the kids during part of the singing time. Sometimes we all raise our hands together. When the kids are all little and are not reading yet, it can help to play some of the songs during the day. It is amazing how they pick up the words without trying!

Reading the Bible

Earlier this year we were reading the New Testament portion of everyone's daily Bible reading. We would all read it separately (along with a bit of the Old Testament) in the morning and then when we had evening Bible time Jeremy would read it again and we could talk about it. This also helped the non-readers to feel a part and hear that passage too. However, about half way through the year we realized that our younger boys were missing some of the basic Bible stories that our older boys knew. We changed things up and brought out the children's Bibles again. We like the Big Picture Story Bible and the Jesus Storybook Bible. We read a passage and talk about it a lot (especially if the storybook Bible says something that is not in the actual Bible). Sometimes we like to cover large chunks of Scripture and other times we take it slow. We don't want to dumb it down, but we also want to engage them at their own level. We have used the DVD's of Acts and Matthew. They are word for word from the text and are so helpful and bringing it to life! We just watch a chapter or two at a time and talk about them. We have also used the Picture Smart Bible. The kids enjoyed that a lot. It guides you in tracing (or coloring for younger kids) a picture that summarizes each book of the Bible. In the past we have used this time for Memory work and a few catechism questions, but we have moved those things into my homeschooling time during the day. The Bible reading part changes a lot based on the ages of your kids. But, I encourage people to just jump in a do something. You can always change things or tweak your plan along the way.

A VERY important aspect to this time is that we follow rabbit trails. If the kids have a question about anything at all, we usually talk about it at length and everyone ends up involved. Sometimes it comes from the text and other times it does not. But our kids know that there is no topic that is off limits. They can ask us anything and we will do our best to answer them in a thorough (and generally age appropriate) way. We have talked about work, sex, marriage, stealing, why some people don't go to church, homosexuality, whether we can trust the Bible, how we know God is real, and many other topics. Their honest questions are welcome. It is amazing what they come up with! And, as we handle all these questions we try to come across in a very gracious and loving way toward those that we might disagree with. For instance, if they ask why some people don't have communion every week, we explain why they don't, why we do, and that they are still our brothers and sisters in Christ and we are all one in Him. We don't want these conversations to raise self righteous, nit picky Christians.

Praying

This is something that we are still working on. We always keep a short list in our minds of the people that specifically need prayer right then. We focus on thanking God for many things, We sometimes use the Psalm that we sang as a springboard for our prayer. We often end with the Lord's prayer. Sometimes only Jeremy prays and other times we all take turns, or just let whoever wants to pray. Sometimes we kneel at the couch. Other times we raise our hands and look up to the sky. We have tried to teach them to close their eyes and fold their hands when appropriate, but we also don't want them to think that is is required by the Bible (since it isn't :0). We also sometimes intercede for specific areas where the church is persecuted. We have talked about having a plan for when we pray for what or keeping some kind of journal to keep track of how God has seen fit to answer our prayers, but right now we are just praying, I did begin a book called Prayer Saturated Kids and I look forward to the ideas that they will give in that book.

Singing

More of the songs I mentioned above.

For a while we were doing a short Bible time in the morning as well. That has not worked with our schedules here as well and so we have just been having everyone do their individual daily reading first thing in the morning. But, I LOVE singing about the Lord with my family in the morning. What a great way to start the day! Actually, maybe I will work that in before breakfast tomorrow!

We have done our Bible time in a variety of locations. We did it around the table for a while. Sometimes if it is late then we will do it in the boy's bedroom. But, we usually do it in the living room.

We do it nearly every night, but if we get home at 11:00 then we just tuck the kids in say a quick prayer with them or just kiss them goodnight. We want them to know that it is a normal and regular part of our life, but that it is not a sin to skip it if we get in late. Also, when we have church on Sunday nights we don't do it after we get home from that because we look at that time with the whole church as our Bible time.

Now our older kids lead it sometimes if Jeremy is gone. We tell them they are the man of the house and they enjoy getting to pick the songs, read the Bible, and lead the prayer time. They have even done it when we were both gone and they were here with a baby sitter. This is a great time to encourage them to lead in a humble servant like way. We are careful to notice if they are lording it over their brothers and nip that in the bud. We also encourage the other brothers to accept the leadership of the boy leading and not make it hard for him to lead. So far they have responded very well.

Sometimes one or two of ours have had trouble focusing and singing loud and strong or paying attention to the Bible reading. This is a time when we really do pick our battles. As I mentioned before, we don't want it to feel like a time when they can't do anything right. We cover over a little extra during this time. But occasionally we do have to call someone out about not participating or being silly. We try not to belittle them, but we are firm in letting them know how we expect them to act and that they don't need to be hamming in up when we are reading God's word. Sometimes we have worked with them one on one to make them feel comfortable singing out or to help them develop the skill of listening and looking at someone who is reading/speaking to them.

One of the things that I think they get out of this time is watching us enjoy God's Word, singing to Him and praying to Him. We show them how to do it and they follow us. And that reminds me…the Devil will try to thwart your plans! Make it a priority to work with your husband in this area and encourage each other's efforts.

As I said above, don't worry about it being perfect. Start out simple and just open God's Word with your kids. You will never regret spending time that way :0).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Spoon

 I read Virtue Begins with a Spoon long ago and have remembered it's wise words.  Here is a snippet:

"Let me state my thesis outright: The quest of Wisdom commences with learning how to eat. The most basic steps towards virtue are mastered at the family table. Character begins with etiquette. Teach a child how to dine like a human being, and you have gone wonderfully far in his education."

What things does a child learn at the table? More than I thought.  Please check out his post here and see what he has to say.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

My Creed

My Creed
by Edgar Guest

To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter where, a man;
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still;
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And, then should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.

To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I'm alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense of sham
Exactly what men think I am.

To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This, I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Scripture Songs

There is no easier way to get the Word of God into your head that to set it to music.  We love to have music like this playing around our house and in the car.  It's amazing how much you can memorize just by singing along.  Here are some that we enjoy.  The albums that I mention are word for word scripture and most of these links have samples to the music.

Jamie Soles Ascending, Pure Words, and Songs From the 40s, 50s, and 60s 
The Sterlings 
Sons of Korah
Steve Green and here
The Harrow Family
Judy Rogers Never Be Shaken
Kelly Crawford The download is half off right now!

Jame Soles, and Judy Rogers also have WONDERFUL children's CDs that are full of meaty lyrics that help your whole family understand the Bible better.  Jeremy and I love them as much as the kids do.  Both are highly recommended!


Monday, July 29, 2013

School Curriculum 2013-2014

First, I would like to say that I post this because I REALLY enjoy reading what others have posted on this topic.  It has helped me a great deal to look at what others have used year after year.  Each family has such different needs that there is no one-size-fits-all plan.  But, this is our plan for this year.  *Check out the Art/Music/History section for something I am really excited about.*  I have Aiden in 5th grade, Alex in 4th, Riley in 2nd, Remy in Kindergarten and Oliver (14 months) getting into things, climbing on top of stuff, and being adorable :0).

Second, I need to briefly summarize how things work around here.  I keep my kids moving at their own grade/learning level in the skill areas: reading, writing, grammar, spelling, handwriting, math, and Greek.  Those are things that kids have to learn how to do incrementally. They are also the things that teach them how to teach themselves.  We lump the rest together and do it as a family as much as we can (see Circle Time).  Science, history, Bible, poetry, art, music, etc. are content areas.  They are things that the kids are going to learn about again and again.  You can never teach them ALL of it, but it's my goal to give them access to a ton of different things from lots of different categories in a fun way.

So, to sum up, we focus on nailing the three R's (Reading wRiting, and aRithmetic) and then just have fun with the rest.  Here is our plan for this year.

Aiden (5th Grade)
Reading: Assigned fiction books from me and lots of other "just for fun" books
Writing: Writing with Skill level 1
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Rod and Staff Grammar level 5
Vocabulary: Vocabulary from Classical Roots
Math: Saxon level 6/5
Greek: Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek level 3
Piano lessons

Alex (4th Grade)
Reading:Assigned fiction books from me and lots of other "just for fun" books
Writing: Writing with Ease level 4
Spelling: All About Spelling and Explode the Code book 3 1/2
Grammar: First Language Lessons level 4
Handwriting: Italic book D
Math: Saxon level 5/4
Greek: Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek level 3

Riley (2nd Grade)
Reading: Assigned fiction books from me and lots of other "just for fun" books
Writing: Writing with Ease level 2
Spelling: All About Spelling and Explode the Code book 3
Grammar: First Language Lessons level 2
Handwriting: Italic book C
Math: Saxon level 2
Greek: Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek level 2

Remy (Kindergarten)
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading LOVE this book.  I've used it with all my boys.
Get Ready For the Code
Learn Your Letters Learn to Serve  This is my first year using this and I LOVE it!  It is a fun crafty program that is extremely low key and user friendly.  My favorite part is that each week you are thinking of people who's name begins with the letter of the week.  You pray for them and make something for them and deliver it (or you could serve them in some way).  This has been GREAT for Remy.  He looks them in the eye and says, "I made this for you." We made little notes to hand to them explaining what he is doing.
Mathematical Reasoning level A
Lots of picture books that begin with the letter of the week.
All About Spelling We are easing into this and using it mainly to teach the phonograms.  Nothing too heavy, but it helps with his phonics skills.

**The Things We Do All Together**

Bible- Our most important subject.  The first part of this post has some good things to say on the subject.  We try to get them used to reading it as a discipline while also making it something they truly enjoy and something our family enjoys talking about together.

Aiden and Alex are reading through the Bible in a year with the same schedule that Jeremy and I are using.  Riley is reading the New Testament part of our schedule.  At 7:30 we are all in the living room reading our own selections for that day (one of the kids goes outside to read...he says it's more quiet :0).  Remy looks at a picture Bible if he is up at this time.  Then in the evening when we do our family Bible time Jeremy reads the New Testament reading for the day and we chat about it.  That way the readers are hearing for the second time and usually have something to say about it and Remy gets to hear it even though he can't read it himself yet.  We also pray and sing songs during this evening time.

Aiden, Alex, and Riley copy a portion of the Bible each day.  Right now they are working through Psalm 119.  We read one chapter from Proverbs at lunch (the chapter that matches the day of the month).  I can't say enough about reading Proverbs to your kids.  It helps them and me as we work through discipline issues throughout the day.

Prayer is another focus of the year.  We want to help the kids learn how to pray and for it to be a natural part of their life.  I'm reading Prayer Saturated Kids for some practical ideas.

I also want to start using this plan for scripture memory again.

Aiden and Alex are reading Who is God together as often as they can comfortably fit it in.

Art/Music/History- This is my first year to really get creative and have fun with things in my own way.  A friend of mine from church told me about a popular co-op that teaches history to the upper grades in a unique way.  They teach about scientists (their lives and inventions) and how they impacted history (or were affected by the period of history they were in).  I thought I could do the same thing with artists and composers!  So I picked out some of the most popular artists and composers and organized them in order of date.  I'm going to try to cover artists and composers from the same time period at the same time.  I am keeping it low key.  I'm just reading books about them, looking at pictures, listening to music, and doing art projects that I never used to make time for.  Here are some of the resources I am using:

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists
What Makes A Monet a Monet (and others in the series)
Books by Diane Stanley
Books by Laurence Anholt 
Activity book by Laurence Anholt that goes with his picture books
Smart About Art series
Who Was Pablo Picasso (and others in the series)
Professor Noggins History of Art
Usborne Art Flash Cards and these
Usborne Book of Famous Paintings
The Life of Leonardo DaVinci
The Story of Painting
The Story of Art Sticker Book
Steve Augarde's Leonardo DaVinci
Discovering Great Artists
Artistic Pursuits

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers
Opal Wheeler Biographies of composers
The Gift of Music
Classical Music for Dummies
Beethovan Lives Upstairs and other Classical Kids CDs
Nest Entertainment History Videos
Children's Music Masters CDs
Masters of the Renaissance by Jim Weiss
Any other great biographies I found.

Poetry- I don't know much about poetry, but we are jumping in anyway.  I am simply reading a poem every day by the same author for a week or more.  That is it.  We are just getting our feet wet one poet at a time.  One of the ones we are starting with is here.

 Science-We took the plunge and signed up for a Supercharged Science Mastery Program.  Aiden LOVES science and wants to do projects all the time.  I spent about a month researching and did not find any negative reviews for this program and tons of really impressed moms.  So far...we love it too!  It looks like just what we have been wanting.  It is a bit confusing to figure out what is available so contact me if you want some more info.

Read Alouds-I am just picking great books to read aloud to the kids.  I sometimes use this time for chapter books about artists or composers, but I also take breaks from that and read a classic book or extra picture books.

Last, but not least, we make sure the boys fit in exercise, playing outside, and enjoying nature.  And we encourage them to think of ways to serve people on a regular basis.

Well, that about sums it up!  Thanks for stopping by.