Saturday, November 13, 2010

We've passed day 50 already??

Since the last time I wrote, we have hit a few milestones. First, I cannot believe we have passed the 50th day mark! I only realized this when we turned the page in her math book. Second, my baby turned 6! She is growing up so much. We had a great time, and time is starting to really go by fast as the holidays approach. I've enjoyed this time and found that we can be flexible. I've tried to stick to a schedule, but there are days when this just does not work. Hannah often asks when we are having class if we get off schedule. I must be doing something right! Oh, by the way, here is the video of Hannah counting that I mentioned in my previous post.

I especially like her little brother thinking he is posing for the camera! My little kinesthetic learner needs to jump and play! I fear that if she were in regular school they would label her ADHD!

I am amazed at how much she is learning right now. We've started on subtraction. Just yesterday, she was doing a worksheet on her own. She was able to do a few subtraction problems correctly! I had not even taught her that part of the book yet. She just used her little noggin and figured it out! Her new game is to complete her worksheet on her own, then have me close my eyes to surprise me with how well she did.

I feel at times we hit speed bumps. Usually this starts with frustration when Hannah is not getting a simple concept. I usually have to press her and try to explain it in different ways. The thing is, once she gets it, she has no problem figuring it out the next time. The frustration is worth it in the end.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day In The Life

Ok so here we go. Uncut and unpolished. Here is a day in the life of our family. We start with breakfast. Today was a good day because Noah let momma sleep in until 8. OH LUXURY! Here is Noah after enjoying his milk. I will spare you his bare butt. I see enough of it since we are trying to potty train. We've had some hits, but mostly misses so far. He turned 2 in June, so it might be a while.

Around 9 am, I was in the kitchen cleaning up and emptying the dishwasher. I returned to the dinningroom to this:

Looks like they are ready to go!
9:15 am We go into our school room. Our class starts with Saxon Math. I have to say I enjoy this curriculum. The activities and manipulatives are great! Here is Hannah doing her addition while Noah hams it up for the camera.

I will try to upload a video of Hannah singing her numbers. My little kinesthetic learner needs to be moving around. It's actually a brilliant thing she is doing because by singing her numbers she is reaching multiple levels of the brain which will help in retention. Noah is coloring in this picture. The great thing about 2-3 year olds is that they spend a lot of time in parallel play. He is doing a good job of imitating his big sister, and it's keeping him busy...for a while..

10:00 am..Ok so Noah lasted almost an hour. He did a lot of drawing and humming "Twinkle Twinkle". It was cute while it lasted. After this, he proceeded to pull out his Baby Einstein flash cards and dump them on the floor. I have to admit that about half of my day is spent in picking up messes that are main left by him. Here's Hannah being a good big sister and picking up.

Next, we did our Bible lesson. Today's lesson was about Jesus calming the storm. This was a great lesson for Hannah because she is scared of storms. We talked about how Jesus spoke "peace be still" and the waters calmed. As a side, later in the day my husband asked if Jesus could calm a 2 year old. Wouldn't it be great if he said "peace, be still" and it happened?? Really Noah was pretty good all day. He was pretty mellow. Hannah on the other hand could not sit still.
So, we complete Bible around 10:30 and take a break. The kids enjoy a snack and watch some tv.

11 a.m. Noah goes down for a nap. I try to stay consistent with this. He still needs the nap times, but with Hannah all hyper he's not getting much sleep. I had promised she could see the bunny today, so she came out to get exercise. Hannah just could not stay quiet. Noah wakes up pretty cranky, so we have lunch to put him in a better mood.

12:30 The dogs have been stinky lately, so I take each out individually and hose them down. The kids enjoy splashing in the puddles. While we are out, the school bus drives by. I'm thankful to be home with my kids.

1:30 We get back to business. Hannah completes her new spelling words while Noah hams it up for the camera again.

Next is Geography, we talked about what plains are. Hannah colors the activity sheet. I pick up our things to start in on Spanish. Hannah has a mini meltdown because apparently she was not finished coloring. I calm her down.

Today we tried something new with Spanish. I found a program at the library. There are cds involved. We head to Hannah's room to listen, but the cds are scratched. Off to find the cleaner. I rummage around, but cannot find it. I round up the kids again and wing it. This happens often in our house when things do not go as planned. We make it through greetings and listen to a counting song several times. Noah enjoys this part and is saying some words in Spanish, even if he does not know what he is saying.
We head back to the classroom and complete our lesson for reading and take out the McGuffy reader for a while. I have Hannah read me about 5 pages.
We wrap up the school day with science. I found a book on mountain animals. Hannah and I look at the pictures and I read about the different types of mountains and climates there are. We are finished around 3 p.m.

On a side note, maybe I should not blog while watching the 2 year old. He spilled ick medicine everywhere. The dog is covered in it, a picture is covered in it, Noah is covered in it. I guess I do not have to worry about him having ick.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Meet The Class Pet

Growing up, my husband raised rabbits. He enjoyed having them around and bred Palominos for a while. I really had not considered having a rabbit for a pet, but early in our marriage he convinced me to help him try breeding Pals again. Ok, I admit I was not sure how much we would get out of having a rabbit, but I found that each had their own personality. It was also a lot of fun watching the litters as they grew. We did not stay in the breeding business for long, but it made me a fan of rabbits! You see my aunt had lops and that really turned me off from rabbits. They always bit or kicked. I really did not look forward to cleaning a cage every day, and it was hard to give them proper exercise with a toddler running around.

Well, we had the itch again and wanted another bunny. My husband called a breeder and scheduled us a time to pick up our bun. I read ahead of time about different breeds and decided on a Mini Rex because of the size. My daughter helped pick out the bunny, and we met the father. Oh my. His fur was like velvet! We picked one of the smaller females and made our way home.
We were delighted to find that she took to a litter box right away. No more cleaning everyday, and no more smell! Yipee!! We found out that she is actually very gentle and curious, and here she is!

We named her Freckles because of her brown spots. She loves to explore the floor. For the first two weeks, she stayed in the classroom.
Photobucket After that, she smelled the sweet fragrance of freedom! She hopped all over the kitchen and dinning room. I think she likes to run!
If you have not heard of disapproving rabbits, then you have to check out their website. It cracks me up looking at the photos of bunnies disapproving of everything. Here is Freckles disapproving of our rug.
Ok, we still have a toddler running around, but we've learned to manage Freckle's free time better. I've found that taking her out at night and feeding her works really well. My daughter can pet her quietly while Freckles eats. Photobucket I think they like each other. It certainly helps Freckles feel comfortable with us when she spends everyday with the kids in the classroom. We're pretty excited to have her.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

5 for 5

One of the first projects we finished was the butterfly unit. As luck would have it, all 5 of our caterpillars from insect lore arrived alive. We had a few moments of AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH...not a sigh relief mind you. One was after I placed the container with caterpillars on top of my husband's dresser. I thought for sure the kids could not reach up there. Little did I know. Here I was relaxing in the livingroom for a moment, when I decided to check on the kids. They were jumping on my bed, which I do not mind that much. I looked over and the container was gone. Panic set in. What did the kids do with our caterpillars?? Anything was possible with these two. Luckily, my daughter had just moved them, and they survived the trauma of two rambunctious kids. The day after we received the caterpillars, they began their transformation. It was awesome watching them.

As you can see, they hatched! All 5 of our caterpillars survived to adulthood. The kids are so excited!


Ok,I have to explain something here. It's really a Hannahism. You see Hannah judges the "niceness" of bugs by whether they will sit on her finger and if they will talk to her. I certainly think our butterflies pass the nice test.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Official Week

We are off and running here! I’ve been anxiously waiting for school to start, and it is finally here. My daughter was confused up until the first day. She thought she was going back to preschool. By the beginning of the first day, she was in the groove. My baby is such a good student. She did so well sitting and listening attentively. I definitely enjoy the Saxon math. There is a good variety of activities involved with each lesson. I opted out of getting the meeting book. It’s really not necessary, so I do not recommend buying it.
As we progressed, I found that adjustments needed to be made. The phonics book I picked up, for instance, was meant for a classroom full of students. I made a quick decision to use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons which my Aunt had given me. It is a little basic, but I added it into my schedule. We did the first 3 lessons out of the book today. It was supposed to take 15 minutes per lesson, but we breezed through it.
I also made adjustment to our schedule because Saturday was kids’ fishing day at the local trout hatchery. I simply HAD to include a unit on fish! I went online and found some basic information on life cycles and fish anatomy. I know it sounds advanced, but you can adjust anything down for kindergarten!
Some of the things I’ve discovered so far:

It’s cool that we can have recess in the pool.
I get to enjoy the nice weather instead of being cooped up in an office all day.
My daughter is awesome.
I seemed to have forgotten some basics of child development. Young children are concrete thinkers. I have to keep it simple, so she can focus. I suggest using a ruler to cover up questions on worksheets. I want to see if this will help her focus on the current worksheet problem instead of looking all over the page.
I have time now to potty train! Yes I am homeschooling and potty training folks. I can multitask.
Homeschooling with a toddler is not as hard as I thought it would be.

Well, our caterpillars came in the mail today, so I’m heading off to teach Hannah about the life cycle of a butterfly! Bye!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Room

I wanted to get a before and after shot of the room, but my mother thought it would be easy to rip the wallpaper off.
As you can see, only the top layer came off. There was another layer of paper underneath which was original. It took me a good 2 weeks to get all of the paper off the wall. My poor elbows were sore for a week, but the result was great. Thanks to my husband for painting and to a friend for giving me great wall posters!

I made a little area for my 2 year old. I have some ideas on how to keep him busy!

After decorating, I finished up a little project on Hannah's old dresser. I wanted the top drawers for storage of things that 2 year olds do not need to get into. The bottom four drawers were pulled out. I removed the nails to the front of two of the drawers and put them back into place.
If you look closely, I added the exacto knife and fabric glue into the picture. So my supplies are:

4 pieces of foam
2 yards of fabric
fabric glue
an exacto knife
a staple gun

I first added some foam to the sides of the drawers to measure and cut them to fit.
I then removed the foam and glued my fabric on and let it dry. It is a sturdy glue by the way, but will leave stains on fabric. I then put the foam into position and stapled where needed and added fabric to the floor of the drawer as well. I ended up with 2 shelves. I am pretty please with it.

I did not get enough foam, so I have to make a trip back to Hobby Lobby. Dang.

Isn't it pretty? Noah likes the balls. The lady at the fabric counter said that a teacher told her she is using the same fabric for a time out spot, so that kids can count the spots while in time out. I thought that was a great idea! I'm so ready for school to start!! I think Hannah is now getting excited after seeing her school room.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Stash

When I began this endeavor, I did not anticipate spending much money. My husband and I like to budget and keep costs down. Back in May, I went to a SHEM sponsored conference. It was so tempting to buy books then, but I went purely to check out materials. My thoughts were "man you could go overboard on this". There were so many different subjects to teach. There was even a Kindergarten chemistry curriculum. I enjoyed the conference. I found some neat ideas for math games. I did not buy the curriculum, but I will definitely used the ideas. Slowly over this summer, I have accumulated quite a stash! It is currently hiding in the closet as I finish scraping wallpaper in the schoolroom.

What it all comes down to is this:
We will be using Saxon Math. I found a used teacher's guide and workbook 2 at a Christian used book store in Springfield called Redeemed. I could go wild in that store! I got quite a deal on the used books. We will be using their First Grade level books since Hannah has a grasp on the Kindergarten level math.

Next, we will be learning English. Now there are many things that go into Kindergarten English. I have a phonics book with monthly assessments. I want to teach Hannah phonics since she has a good grasp on sight reading. There will be reading time included during the day as well. My mother-in-law gave us a whole set of McGuffy Readers. I'm excited about using them. You cannot go wrong with the ole tride and true right?

Now, we do not want to get too carried away, but I thought that now would be a time to introduce a new language into Hannah's vocabulary. I am a bit afraid that it could interfere with her reading, but we will see how it goes. I bought a Spanish workbook. We will work on this from time to time, but the goal here is exposure. We can get into more in depth learning as she gets older. One great website I found was It has some great games for kids. It reminds me of one of my favorites Hannah learned some of the basics of reading from this website. I hope she learns just as much from the Spanish site.

Next, there is science. I found a book with several experiments and season related activities through mailbox. They have several good workbooks that I purchased. My goal with science is to be hands on. I want the curriculum to be balanced with worksheets and activities. I think Hannah will be more excited about learning if we do hands on science. One of the activities we will be doing is raising a butterfly. I found a kit at for 20.00. They have a really cute website as well. Originally, I did pay 20.00, but j.christophers had the kit for 5 dollars less. I hope you check them out. I went into the store and found some super cute toys there.
Finally, there is social studies. Again we used mailbox who had many activities for social studies. I also picked up their geography workbook. You can find out how to order at I know all of this may sound like a bit much, but I thought why not? One day I sat around thinking of activities, and I came up with this: In the fall, we will go to the zoo. I will print out a map of the continents and bring a sticker book. While walking around the zoo, I will teach Hannah about where the animals are from. As we walk along, we will place stickers on each continent. There is a science lesson and geography lesson all wrapped up into one!

I think we are going to enjoy homeschooling. Well, I must be off to scrape more wallpaper. August is fast approaching, and I want the room to be ready. I will post some before and after pictures next time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A new Chapter

I hope I can keep this up. I've never been one to write much. I thought this was just as good of a topic as any considering that my daughter is on the cusp of being a kindergartener. For those of you that are curious about homeschooling, I will explain how we came to this point.

Back in the day (pre-college years), I was asked to help my aunt with a homeschooling project. You see she had decided to homeschool for her own reasons. One being that my cousin was being bullied at school. He has had difficulty with muscle tone and eye sight since birth and we now have a word for his condition--leukodystrophy. I could go into detail on that, but there would be a need for a separate blog. Anyway, the other reason was that his sister was in kindergarten and asked her mom constantly if she could stay home. My aunt finally gave in and tried out homeschooling. They never looked back.

That fateful summer I was asked to help with an art project. My aunt had decided that a unit on art would be just the thing for summer. I came up with an activity where I taped butcher paper under a table and had my cousins lay on their backs and draw pictures. This would lead into a lesson on Michaelangelo and the Cistene Chapel. I had a lot of fun with this lesson. My aunt asked me to also teach Geometry since she was not very skilled in math. There were ups and downs in this process, but Geometry was taught!

All of this planted a seed inside of me. I enjoyed the process of homeschooling.

Fast forward a lifetime later and you have our little family. I must introduce you so that you know the main characters to this journey.

First, there is mom (that's me). I'm a (recently) turned 34 year old housewife (also recently). I was gainfully employed until state budget cuts in the education system lead administration into believing I was not fit for my job. I did search for jobs, but God had other plans. The job search was not fruitful, so my husband began to wonder "can we pull this off??". I went to a convention for SHEM in Southwest Missouri with some church friends. I enjoyed the speakers and felt excitement of what was happening. We decided to homeschool.

Speaking of my husband, he would be character number two in this family. In the event of going full force into homeschooling, my husband came to the conclusion that we could not afford for me to stay home on his current income. He started to look for a new job. Guess what? He found a job working from home!

So here we are two people who formerly worked in the education system now going full throttle into being stay at home parents. His job seems to be going well right now. We're counting on God right now that finances will be taken care of.

Next, there's Hannah. She is our 5 year old. There have been some challenges in raising her. For instance, she is a strong willed little girl. Ok you might think your child is strong willed, but until you've met an actual strong willed child you have no idea. I could go on, but that's a different subject. Along with her strong willed spirit, Hannah is playful, imaginative, extremely caring and sensitive. We've also had some hearing issues which are being addressed. Last month, we found out she has damage in her right ear, but nothing significant. She is a joy and frustration all wrapped up in this bright little girl. We began to see what was to come when she took out a piece of paper when she was 4 and wrote "dog". I had no idea she could spell. I asked her to spell some more words. "Hannah how do you spell cat? How do you spell bat? How do you spell fat?" We giggled at that one when she answered "Daddy!". Just so you know he's not, but it sure was funny!

Finally, there's Noah. His grandpa calls him Dr. Destructo. He is a whirlwind of a 2 year old. He has no fear and will take flying leaps off of the furniture. I think he will be my biggest challenge in homeschooling. How do I distract a 2 year old so that I can educate his older sister. Like his sister, he is bright and full of energy. There are days that I wonder what I am getting into. I'm tempted to start school now so they will be on a schedule. The sibling rivalry is beginning, and they often get into things. Big sister is the leader, and baby brother is the minion there to do her bidding.
This should be fun.

Next time we'll discuss curriculum. I'm so excited!!